The Road Of Mini Successes

1

We can all be extremely hard on ourselves and expend too much effort relying on the judgments of others to validate our existence.

Many of us are born into a society that dictates a very specific concept of success that is entirely measured by dollars and cents. Unfortunately, this kind of “success” ignores the individual’s non-monetary personal milestones. For example, take 2 men standing at the corner one morning, waiting for the light to change. One is well dressed. Nobody can tell that he is hungover for the third time this week. The other, shabbily dressed, has been sober for ten years straight. The latter’s success is invisible to the rest of us, so we look down on him. In fact, our society encourages us to look outside of ourselves for validation instead of looking inwards and accepting ourselves and recognizing our own private successes, a process that continually wears down our confidence by implicitly telling us that we are not good enough, rich enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, happy enough, successful enough. Ironically, this system may well be dependent on our lack of confidence in our own selves.

It’s hard not to look outwards into the eyes of others as a mirror to see ourselves, to gauge our worth and determine our place in this society. We are all in some way or another trying to give meaning to our existence and what so many of us do is look outwards instead of inwards.   How do we compare? To her? To him? To it? To them?

I too have been part of that black hole. For years I have been writhing to break away from this hammering concept that tries to deafen my inner voice and natural trust in myself.   We all have that inner voice and innate trust in ourselves and we all have our own method to hear it. But it’s a constant battle to turn the outside volume down and silence the fears perpetrated by this system.

I turn to music to silence the pounding. And thus, for me each song becomes a personal success where I’ve managed to conquer that concept for just one day.

Getting this album out to the world has been a challenge. Yes, there is the planning and time and the work and the money that had to go into it , but that’s not what I mean. To me, the challenge was to push forward, to keep pushing forward, to not cave in and give up despite the constant pressure to chase the capitalistic concept of success, i.e., the path that implies the promise of money and security – rather than my own path, which is to be myself, listen to my inner voice and take a massive risk.

My greatest challenge is to accept myself. It may seem to you that I already do but, believe me, it is a continuous battle and I’m not giving up. With each song I write I am putting it all on the table, my hopes, my values, my faults, mistakes, wounds and vulnerabilities – putting it all out there for anyone to judge as they wish. What I have learned though is that, if I were to depend on other people’s judgments of me, I would go insane because for every person on this planet there is a different opinion and though people may believe their opinions are correct, no one person’s judgment has more weight than another’s.

Of course, a good review is always nice and greatly appreciated, and 100,000 albums sold would make my life a little more comfortable – but it wouldn’t suddenly give value to my work, to my album, or to me as a human being.

At the end of the day, I look back at this entire process, see the stories and experiences and emotions behind each song and know that each one alone was a personal success. Bringing together an incredible team of musicians and technicians who understand my vision, developing lasting relationships with them and recording an album is a personal and shared success. Deciding to mix the album in Berlin and delve into the technical world of dynamic sound in a country with a different sound esthetic, all the while learning new information about engineering, was a personal success. Problem solving in the later stages of mastering, when we realized that technical practices between Germany and Canada differed greatly, was a personal success. Digging deep to uncover the artistic direction for the album and then bringing together the perfect team to shoot the album and promo photos, the music video, and design the album and website was a shared and personal success.

And although it would be wonderful, regardless of whether the album is considered “successful” in the eyes of others – whether With Blindfolds On charts, sells a ton, or garners great reviews – I know that I have done something that forced me to push myself to the limits, to learn about who I am, to better myself, and to turn an idea into something others too can experience.

So here we are now: the album has been released and how its life will unfold is no longer in my hands. But for me, this project has already been a success, or rather, a collection of mini successes culminating in one of the greatest feats of my life so far and something I will forever be proud of. All I can hope for is that With Blindfolds On touches people and gives them a little extra courage to look inside instead of outwards, to accept themselves and take the time to appreciate all of their own personal mini successes.

Hey! Living each day is a success.

And now, as I head on tour with the support of an unmatchable band (who are not only freakishly talented but also my closest friends), I sit here quietly for one moment in time, and appreciate who I am where I am right now.

12000863_10207734669827270_3656731913892231785_o
Photo by Davide Santi

 

#BeenRapedNeverReported: My Story

19

For those of you who are not Canadian, you may not have heard the media report that prominent Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi has been fired from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, (CBC), having been accused by 9 women of harassment, physical abuse and sexual assault. Although this recent news is shocking and ugly, it has led to something positive by shedding light on a very common yet mostly unspoken issue:  sexual assault and assault of women in general. It inspired Toronto Star writer Antonia Zerbisias and Montreal Gazette reporter Sue Montgomery to create the hashtag on Twitter, #BeenRapedNeverReported, a platform for women to share their stories of abuse without shame to the world and astonishingly, it has been tweeted over 8 million times.

I too wanted to join in the discussion by sharing my story in support of all survivors of sexual assault.

WARNING: This content deals with an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.

It was my first month of highschool.  I was 14 and wanted desperately to be cool.  I lied to my Mom and went to a party with a couple girlfriends.   I knew the boys who were throwing the party.  And I knew they weren’t good news – they were known to be into drugs – but I wanted to fit in so I went anyway.  I was naïve. I had one drink, a mixed drink made by one of the boys. When one of my friends was getting picked up, I asked for a ride home but her mother didn’t want to drive out of her way  –  so I stayed.

The next thing I remember is waking up in a dark room with no windows, unable to move, half on a bed, my pants being pulled down by one boy who stood between my legs.

I couldn’t move.

My friend came to the door, saw what was happening and shooed him away.

But then she left me there alone, probably too inebriated to realize what was going on.

Then again:  black.

Throughout the night, I woke up only for minutes at a time – paralyzed, undressed, poked and prodded, violated by the hands and body parts of 4 different boys – and then blacked out again.

This cycle continued throughout the entire night and all I could ever do was mumble a nearly soundless “no”.

The next morning I woke up unable to focus my eyes, seeing more than double.  I could barely stand up.  Everyone acted as if nothing more than a really fun night had passed.  I pretended everything was okay as well – I didn’t know what else to do – and waited for my ride home.

These boys were my peers, in my classes, in the halls. They were proud of their behaviour and told everyone who would listen that I had consented to their evening of  “fun”.  They bragged about it and scratched explicit comments on desks at school detailing what they had done.  People snickered at me and I was suddenly the slut at school:  tormented by girls, “easy” for guys.

Why didn’t I say anything?

I was embarrassed.  I was ashamed.  I felt it was my fault for going, for lying to my Mom, for not knowing better, for taking that drink.  I was imagining it. It was a bad dream.  I was crazy and hallucinating.  I was a bad person.  I let it happen.

That was many years ago and I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed or deeply tormented, but the healing process was long and enduring and there are still lasting consequences.

With such an invasion your mind dissociates from your body, and from that point on you search for ways to feel intact again.  This separation may be a good coping mechanism that serves in the moment and perhaps keeps you from feeling far too much at the time but the poison leaks into the future and all future relationships.

When someone invades someone else they leave a trail of dirt, images behind your eyes, memories in your skin and fingerprints on your future relationships.

Later on, when someone comes along who truly loves you and touches you with respect, they undeservedly have to bear the consequences of that past invasion, side effects that are often hard to explain or understand and can be destructive to a partnership.

However, this love can help you heal, but let me tell you, it takes a lot of love to kill those memories and even still, after all these years, after therapy, songs, time, and tons and tons of love and respect, now, even though I am comfortable talking about this, I can’t lie:  every once in a while, even when touch is full of love and beauty, intimacy triggers fear.

In the end, I believe that it is really love and respect that heal these wounds, and that over time the positive experiences outweigh the negative.

If I were to leave you with any suggestions for working through such a trauma, or traumas in general, I’d suggest you go and create anything at all, without any inner critic, without caring about it being “good”.  For me personally, it was the combination of love from others and creativity as a means of releasing, understanding and connecting with others that aided in my healing process.  Creativity is one of the most healing outlets as it can give you the power to transform the unspeakable into something beautiful and full of power, something external which does not really need words, to be used for you alone for whatever means you see fit or to share with others to communicate and foster understanding.

I hope that my speaking out is empowering for other survivors of sexual assault and for our society as a whole.

Lots of love

Chloe

 

P.S.  I am more than interested in your comments and personal stories.  If I can lend a hand, just let me know.
P.P.S. Feel free to share this post.

 

 

Win tickets to German shows this fall!

0

Hi Germany friends! I’m so excited to be coming back for 5 shows this fall!

You can win a pair of tickets to a show in your town by following these three easy steps:

1: Tweet your favorite song of mine with the hashtag #ChloeinTubingen, #ChloeinErlangen, #ChloeinLeipzig, #ChloeinBonn, or #ChloeinHamburg 

2: Tweet every day for a better chance of winning

3: Await your prize, to be announced 3 days before each show!

The winners will be chosen at random and will receive 2 tickets to the show in their hashtag. Good luck and see you all soon!

Lots of love!!
Chloe 

Just chilling with Ella Fitzgerald! No Biggy!

0

The North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam is amazing. It is absolutely mind blowing that they bring so many crazy artists together in one space for 1 weekend. The amount of talent there is jaw dropping. It’s a city that is beautifully built inside a convention centre, fitting something like 25,000 people each day. What an honour to play where the likes of Ella Fitzgerald has played!!!

A Magical Festival Experience: Larmer Tree

0

We just performed at Larmer Tree Festival in Britain. Set in a magical garden inhabited by peacocks and parrots, we were warmly welcomed by a beautifully attentive and kind audience.  This has been one of our favourite festival experiences. I could say so much but pictures tell much more.

True Romance…Love is contagious!

4

What is true romance? Well, boy have I got a love story for you.

But first something to make you giggle:

And a few pieces of news:

* The album has been recorded!!!  Best experience of my life! Now on to mixing, mastering and all the other fancy details!

* I reached my Pledge Goal to help fund the album!  Thank you for contributing! I can’t wait to start sketching your portraits and sending you love letters from abroad.  If you still want to get involved in the album, you can pre order a CD, Vinyl, or lots of other goodies and get private updates, videos, and sneak previews: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/chloecharles

* So remember that Award I asked you to vote for?? I WON!!  I owe you thanks for actually taking the time to vote! Your Chloe won the SiriusXM Indie Award for Best R&B/ Soul Artist of the Year 2014!

* I’ve got a big European tour starting up this weekend and going through the summer, spanning 7 countries. I hope you’re at one of them. For details see header or: www.chloecharles.com/dates

Now onto that love story I promised you…

It isn’t every day you get to be behind the scenes of a marriage proposal.

…and not just any proposal, the most elaborate and romantic proposal I’ve ever heard of.   This was movie worthy.

At CMW 2013, on stage at Tattoo Rock Parlour, I looked into the audience and there was this adorable couple, hanging on my every word and note.  We chatted afterwards and I remember telling my band that this was likely the cutest couple ever.

A year later, after getting to know them better and having their support at every Toronto show I’ve had since, I get an email from Jonny.  He writes me their lovestory.

In short, that show at CMW was one of their first dates and somehow my music became somewhat of a soundtrack to their blossoming relationship.

Within months of knowing each other, Jonny knew Jesjika was the one for him and wrote a letter to her dated 1 year later, in which he proposed.

This letter was sealed and framed, not to be touched for 12 months.

And when the time came for her to open it, Jonny wanted me to be there to serenade her.

I can’t imagine anything more flattering.

Skip to the day: With Davide by my side, we walk into this newly bought house decorated with love notes, flowers, X’s and O’s and yarn.

Yes yarn…

Jonny borrowed the idea from my music video, Find Her Way, and spun a maze of yarn for Jesjika to untangle and lead her from the front door, to her framed proposal.

Davide and I hid in the closet. My heart was beating and Jonny’s was probably near explosion.  We were dying with anticipation! 

Jonny being a baseballer, had set it up so that when Jessika reached the letter she had to throw the ball and break the glass to finally read that long awaited for letter.

And then he went down on one knee, or maybe two.

This was all while we waited for our cue to play.

A flick of the switch, lights on, and through the closet door, she hears music.

Jesjika opens the door and there I am singing Find Her Way.

Her face is something I will never forget.

In short, this was the most rewarding show I’ve ever played.  The memory of it makes me smile every time I recount it.

It made my heart happy!  Congratulations to Jonny and Jesjika!

This summer I have many chances to be fulfilled by the smiles of audiences around Europe.  Know that your attendance fills my heart and your smiles are contagious! I hope you will be in one of these places and in the spirit of love stories, let’s all be a little romantic and show someone how special they are to you.

Love you to pieces

Your Chloe

XO

 

 

Music: The Time Traveller

0
My new painting, available as an incentive for contributing to my 2nd album.

My Dear Spring Tulips!

Before I get started on my flowery note to you, I have a few exciting pieces of news:

1. I’ve been nominated for a #SiriusXMIndie Award for Best Soul/R&B Artist of the Year and NEED YOUR VOTE! Voting ends this Friday! http://indies.ca/voting/

2. I’m going to be playing the North Sea Jazz Festival  in Rotterdamn July 12th.  Who else is playing? Stevie Wonder, Pharell Williams, Outkast and on and on…I’ll also be playing Love Supreme (Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, De la Soul) and Womad (founded by Peter Gabriel), both in the UK in July.

3. If you are in Toronto for Canadian Music Week, I will be there to showcase some new material with my European-Canadian merged band at The Drake Hotel on Friday  May 10th at 8pm.

4. My favourite piece of news:  We are recording my 2nd album at Number 9 Audio Group in Toronto!!!  Preorder the album or help be a part of it by donating here:http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/chloecharles

It’s a lot to ask your fans for a little support and … boy, is it ever scary!

One, because we live in this super individualistic society that emphasizes making it on your own, that we should all be autonomous… as if all of us don’t actually rely on each other for services and safety and sanity every day of our lives.

And two, because it’s admitting that my career is not a one-man job.

It’s not just Chloe who does everything. I’ve got a lot of people behind me helping me to get my music out there, allowing me to do what I love, and bring something special, the gift of music, to you.

We are past the era of musicians living it up, with the exception of a few.  So, perhaps with this crowd funding approach, we’ve time travelled  to the days of the court jester being hired by the king as a full time entertainment fixture in the kingdom.

Let me be your jester! Let me reside in your home in the form of a brand new album!  

If you have ever spent time in a studio, you know the tremendous amount of work it is to record an album, the amount of energy it takes to actualize dreams.  But that’s the only way to produce the magic, the potion that can cast spells on people, make them feel young again, make them feel love, transport them through time and space, inspire their creativity.  It can be cathartic, or spiritual, revitalizing or soothing.

This world is too hard to not have music, to not have the arts, to not live with a little magic.

Reality is tough and we all need a break, something that transcends the daily grind, material difficulties, financial worries,  world problems.

Music is one thing that speaks to us all and I’m so excited to be part of this.  I hope you are, as well.
Because your support is integral to making this album come true!

And, THANK YOU, again and again to all of you who have already pledged to help!

A new tune sent to you from my kitchen with my baby Guild…

Chloe Charles – Hold Me from Christen Bach on Vimeo.

My Second Album

3

Hi, lovely people, who happened upon this blog.  Perhaps you are coming for more information from my Pledge Music Campaign, perhaps this is your first stop.  If it is, I urge you to head over there and watch the little film.

 

This has been one of the most momentous years of my life, personally and career wise. I opened for the “Searching for Sugarman” Rodriguez 2014 UK tour in venues I’d been dreaming of – The Apollo in London, Birmingham Symphony Hall. I played festivals with Gregory Porter, Ghostpoet, Snarky Puppy, have been torn between 2 continents and 2 incredible bands, lost my father, lost my grandfather, gained 2 sisters, sang twice on BBC, nominated for a SiriusXM Indie award (you can vote here), played sold out shows at the London Jazz Festival and at the preeminent jazz club Sunside Sunset in Paris, and was featured on Taratata (watch here), the most renowned music TV show in France.

Davide, Robert and myself with Rodriguez after our last concert together at the Apollo in London.Sound checking at Birmingham Symphony Hall. 

Now, what am I proposing?

I am going to record my second album and build on this momentum gathered and take my career to the next level.

So…through delicate poetry, powerful vocals, and intricate arrangements, I want to share with you all of these wild experiences, challenges, thoughts and emotions in the form of a shiny new album.

My aim? 

To catch the energy and emotion, the atmosphere and the charm of a live show – with the impeccable clarity, precision and elaboration made possible only through studio recording.

This album will be international, highlighting the unique flavours of both my European and North American bands and the ambiance that they each bring to bear on my music. It will be enhanced by the collaboration and the combined ideas of all the musicians involved – from Canada, USA, Italy and Germany – and the resultant innovative development of songs through intensive rehearsals.

And although I’ve considered a few sure fire ways to raise the funds to record this album – robbing a bank, online gambling, selling my soul, etc., I decided to try my hand with Pledge Music.

So let’s cut to the chase; albums cost a ton of money. … if if if you actually want to work with the great people, in a great studio and pay people what they deserve. I do.

In short what will your contribution go to?

1 polished album recorded in May 2014 in Toronto at Number 9 Audio Group, (Celine Dion, Duran Duran, Joni Mitchell, Danielle Lanois, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Rush, Van Morrison, K-OS), for the most part, self produced under the guidance of George Rondina (Jane Siberry, Amanda Marshall, The Nylons), owner of Number 9 Audio Group, and Bernie Cisternas, engineer at Number 9, with the exception of a couple of songs which will be produced by Grammy Award Winner Christopher Sholar (Whitney Houston, Kanye, John Legend, Max Herre).

My Canadian band and manager at Number 9 Audio Group, Toronto, with studio owner, George Rondina and renowned bass player, George Koller.

 It will fund 6 Canadian musicians, 1 Italian violinist who has played with the likes of Andrea Boccelli, 1 German pianist, flights across the Atlantic, equipment and instrument rental, rehearsal space, guest cameos, programming, a string quartet, choir, piano tuning, food and accommodation to keep my musicians alive, mixing, mastering, manufacturing, album artwork, incentive production.

My European band at The Apollo in London before the show.

I am a fan of this crowd funding approach because I’ve learned that people like to help each other and to be part of something they believe in. Some people think it lowers your image as an artist but let’s be honest … Yes, talent is important, and determination and all that jazz, but no question, I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for my champions; those people who believed in me and my music from the first time they heard my songs and selflessly wanted to help me to succeed.  Those people will always have real-estate in my heart.

…those people who gave me advice, or picked me up at the airport, or drove my guitar across the country, or listened to me vent, or bought me dinner, made me dinner, housed me on tour, fed me lollypops when I had food poisoning, lent me money, gave me money, gave me awards, gave me guitars, or great reviews,

…lent me their car, booked me shows, gave me grants, filled out contracts, made me tour binders, booked me flights when I was too tired to see straight, shot music videos for 37 dollars, shot music videos for free, stamped cd’s with me and didn’t complain when their palms were bruised, designed websites for me, taught me photoshop so I could make my own posters,

…threw house concerts for me, made me part of their family, became surrogate dads, resized graphics, responded to my facebook help ads, gave me massages when my shoulders were so sore from lugging my life and guitar on my back, gave me their houses and keys with full trust, or gave me a chance and threw me on stage in front of thousands of people…

…and many many more….oh you know who you are!

So I decided, don’t try to fit big ideas into small boxes, aim to be your greatest,  love what you do and work with the best (even if they’re across the Atlantic) to bring out the best in everyone involved.

Then cross your fingers, wiggle your nose, believe your guardian angels will hop on board and figure out how to pay for it later!

Il sera magique. N’est-ce pas?

All my love,
Tschuss, Ciao!
Chloe

P.S. If you haven’t already, and want to go deeper into the costs of being a musician, please read this essay I wrote recently (that happened to reach over 15,000 people). The Musicians Facade

 

Searching for Sugarman & Me!

0
If you haven’t seen the Academy Award winning documentary, Searching For Sugarman, you HAVE to! It is an incredible story of a super talented Detroit musician, who was all but ignored and forgotten in the U.S.   Sixto Rodriguez didn’t see the success he deserved in his own country and thus, gave up on his music career in the early 70s.  Rumored to be dead, his legacy faded … or so he thought.40 years later Rodriguez becomes an overnight success when it turns out that he has been more famous than Elvis Presley in South Africa, where his songs were a beloved source of inspiration during the anti-apartheid movement.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Why is she writing about this?”

Well, I will be opening for Rodriguez in March for 3 dates in the UK, playing at theaters I’ve dreamed of playing at, namely the Hammersmith Apollo in London where legends have played … like Ella Fitzgerald with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ben E. King, The Beatles, David Bowie, Queen, Elton John, Radiohead, Bjork, Cat Power, Kate Bush, Kings of Leon, and the list continues!!

In 2013, I told myself I wanted to play a theater like Massey Hall within a year (Canadians, you know what I’m talking about) – and now I am – but even BIGGER!  I can’t quite believe it.

So, from now until early May, I will be playing like a crazy woman, singing my heart out and sharing the stage with some heavy hitters!

28.02.2014 MANCHESTER UK RNCM Theatre and Concert Hall(in support of Naturally 7)
03.03.2014 LONDON UK Union Chapel ,(in support of Naturally 7)
09.03.2014 BOURNEMOUTH UK International Centre (in support of Rodriguez)
11.03.2014 BIRMINGHAM UK Symphony Hall (in support of Rodriguez)
13.03.2014 LONDON HAMMERSMITH UK Apollo (in support of Rodriguez)
14.03.2014 SOUTHAMPTON UK Turner Simsin support of Naturally 7)
15.03.2014 READING UK Concert Hall, (in support of Naturally 7)
16.03.2014 SHEFFIELD UK City Hall,  (in support of Naturally 7)
17.03.2014 GATESHEAD UK Sage Gateshead / Hall Two, (in support of Naturally 7)
18.03.2014 LEEDS UK Grand Theatre / Howard Assembly Room(in support of Naturally 7)
23.03.2014 AMSTERDAM NL Paradiso, (in support of Anna Calvi)
24.03.2014 PARIS FR Casino Nouveau
27.03.2014 PARIS FR Canadian Culture Centre/Canadian Embassy
04.04.2014 LEIPZIG, DE Werk II (in support of Two Wooden Stones)
17.04.2014 ENGELBERG, CH – Hotel Bellevue-Terminus 
18.04.2014 FRIBOURG CH Bar Le Cintra
27.04.2014 RORSCHAH CH Schloss Wartegg
07.05.2014 BAD HOMBURG DE – Women of the World Festival
05.07.2014 GLYNDE PLACE UK Love Supreme Festival
15.08.2014 LIMOGES FR Musiques au Musee Festival

I urge you to check out the artists I will be supporting.  Besides the amazing Rodriguez, you will find me opening all over the UK for Naturally 7, a remarkable acapella band that will blow your mind.  I still can’t believe the sounds they make with their mouths.  It actually sounds like a full band. Right now, they are touring the world in support of Michael Bublé.

Plus, Anna Calvi is right up my alley.  She’s a strong woman who really rocks her own style playing. Together at Paradiso in Amsterdam (Adele, Rolling Stones, Janelle Monae, Amy Winehouse, Prince, Tracy Chapman), March 23rd, I think we will be a match made in heaven.

And playing some killer festivals:

Flaunting my femininity at the Women of the World Festival near Frankfurt alongside women I have tons of respect for such as  Zaz, Sophie Hunger, Agnes Obel, Lisa Stansfield…

Rubbing shoulders with world class Jazzies, both classic and modern…Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, Jose James, Dave Holland’s Prism,  Snarky Puppy at Love Supreme Festival in Sussex, UK

And finally, following this EU tour, I will be back in my hometown Toronto to record album number 2 atNumber 9 Audio Group.  And, for the first time ever, I’ll be bringing my EU and CA bands together – so expect some magic!!

All I can say is, I’ve got a lot of supportive people on my side and, boy, am I ever grateful.  Thank you to every one of you who has supported me recently.  You know who you are!

Cause, at the end of the day, after all of the urgency, stress, lost passports, lost phones, forgotten guitars (Yes. That’s right.  I forgot my guitar in Paris the day I was booked to play on camera on France Inter, a biggie, but of course it was all sorted in the nick of time. See here), cancelled shows, diminishing bank account and a few near heart attacks, there are a lot of great opportunities on the horizon and I can’t help but be happy.

I hope to see you somewhere soon!
Love Chloe
XO

P.S. Here is a video of us covering Wicked Games on France Inter in Paris.

Chloe The Perched Owl: A Year In One Breath

2

It’s been months since I last wrote a blog.  After my rant on the music industry and the artist’s responsibility to their audience (see here), the superficial happenings in my life seemed trivial.  Having been so candid about the unglamorous side of the rising artist’s life, it was hard to go back to updates on concerts, or reviews etc.

So I decided to wait until I was actually inspired.

The New Year is always an impetus for reflecting on the last year.

Boy oh boy, has it ever been a full one, sooooo insanely full that it burst.!

KAAAAAAAA BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes I am a 10 year old doing grade 5 science experiments in the Arctic Vortex.

Now, I do hope that those flying little pieces were shot with enough force that they will find their destination and land one day, wherever on earth that may be.

Momentum is my friend…I am waiting…

I was thrown up against the ceiling and down against the floor, both times splatting emotions “negative” or “positive”.

But living like that is E X H A U S T I N G so I started speaking to my self more often.

(No I am not crazy, I just get that from my Mom who ~ as much as she speaks to herself or her dog ~ is definitely quite wise.  And, remember I am an only child.  I know how to NOT get lonely.  As in, “Hello, Chloe, you’re a good girl,” … Or … “Hey, Chloe, what do you want to do today?|  … and so on …

But, really, to get back to those negative-positive shenanigans:

Who am I to say what is up and what is down? It’s all one big squiggly wavelength.  Up and down and wiggle waggle.  It’s all just sounds … la la la … and in some way, they are all beautiful.

I guess I could say…

(Yes, I’m about to get cheesy here.  Here I go:)

I am living in the key of ……..CHLOE!!!

Ba da doom ching!!!! (Get it? I’m a musician?  Bahaha.  Yeah… I’m not that good with jokes but I guess you caught that.)

Anyway, I took this perspective and instead of judging events as good or bad I attempted to live by:

“It is”…

There is Chloe, the experiencer  ~ and Chloe, the observer.  Perhaps being a Gemini I can split myself into two but still, the Chloe you know is the one full of emotion: dramatic, elated, and bursting with feeling.  But there is also the Chloe you don’t really get to know.  She is the “Me” who watches from a distance like an owl perched on a branch gathering it all in as the novel unfolds. 

Whenever life falls too far to one extreme, grave or euphoric, Chloe Number 2 is actually excited and entertained by the twists and turns of the plot.

Life is quite the storyteller and it’s incredible to simultaneously be cast as the protagonist and sit back with your book and read along.

So…

… in the midst of this roller coaster, this stance allows me to ride along as it plummets or skyrockets and still maintain some measure of peace (and keep my lunch down).

Sometimes as we watch our lives unfold, we take a step back and realize that it is also possible to co-author our own lives if we know what we want and what is important to us.

Occasionally I know what I want.  I always know what is important to me:

Relationships, creation, challenge and passion.

And while last year sure was filled with the people I love, tons of new creations, bundles of new challenges, and even more passion for music than ever before, this year I plan on increasing that exponentially ! Hehe!  

So, Happy New Year to everyone!

Here is my story in one big breath:

Last year I…

… went tribal on your ass, grew some kick ass eyelashes, shared stages with Maceo Parker & Boy, played some festivals in Holland where I got to check out Gregory Porter and Ghostpoet, hung out in the trees of Kentucky with Neil and Mack, travelled 48 hours by bus with Neil from Shangri-la studio in Kentucky to Number 9 studio in Toronto, rocked it at the Mod Club with Dr. Draw and Cai.ro, learned how to skateboard, played the London Jazz Festival, was an extra on the latest David Cronenberg film, worried about money, spent a lot of money, had some crazy allergic reaction, got some love from Billboard Magazine, got some love from Rolling Stone, braved a blizzard to chat with Jian Gomeshi on The Q, played dress up, played dress up again, and again, had a  few breakdowns, considered quitting this music thing and then played Jazzahead (Bremen, German) which gave me hope…

…lost my grandfather, took up painting again, moved twice, made friends with a family of Nutria (giant swimming rodent that is not nutritious), had my portrait painted, signed the same guest book as Katy Perry (my hero! Bahaha), fell in love with Toronto in the summer, spent tons of time with my friends, hung out on rooftops with cocktails in the Toronto sun, went swimming in Lake Zurich, played under a magical tree on the river of Solothurn, lost my phone, had it returned, lost my phone again, had it returned, lost 2 phones, had them returned, lost my wallet, had it returned, lost my wallet again and had it returned and finally lost my phone, did not have it returned…

I slept in cars, went hiking in the rivers of Algonquin Park, talked to wild turkeys, tried to look more like my Mom and went blond for a day, got some snuggles from my Mom, made friends with a caterpillar and a snail, read a lot of dumb German books to improve my German, wrote a bunch of songs, sang a bunch of songs, did a ton of co-writes, played a ton of shows, flew way too much, drove way too many kilometers, learned to appreciate my alone time, cried from exhaustion, danced till 6 am in condos atop Toronto’s sparkling streets, made some baby fans, let out my really girly side and took advantage of the samples and nail polish booths at Sephora, made colourful explosions in Sunnybrook Park and luckily avoided the attention of the police, lost my father, got eaten to death by mosquitos trapped under my skirt, shot my favourite music video (Refrain from Fire), missed my kitties, Rufus and Tuula, played dress-up again (this time with my Nana), hung out with my “best” friend Rob Ford in his diaper at Newstalk 1010,  saw my first shaved cat, got to see my album in the stacks at HMV in Toronto and at Dussmann in Berlin,  hung out at Toronto’s nudey beach…

…made a delicious lemon tart (twice), rocked a fanny pack, got to blab on about how useless the idea of perfection is for a TedX Talk, had my album reach number 9 on the iTunes Rock chart in France, heard way too much about this paleo diet, enjoyed a delicious paleo meal that made me consider converting, wrote a blog that spread like wildfire (see here), ate a ton of Muesli, lived off of frozen fruit smoothies all summer, blew bubbles that turned into ice, turned boiling water into snow, fell in love with the magic bullet (its blending powers are dreamy),  had stretching yoga parties with my roommates, went tobogganing on  pure ice at Trinity Bellwoods doggy park, celebrated the best and coldest Christmas ever, made a lot of new friends in a lot of new places …

…and made new memories with old friends and family.…

Here’s to new challenges, love, creation and passion in 2014!

Love you all,

Chloe

[flexislideshow]