I want to be totally transparent with you. I would prefer for you to stay alive for selfish reasons. I am defining my reasons as selfish because:
- I don’t actually know you
- I am a fan of your music
- I have no idea what it is like to be you
Here’s what I do know:
I know that you have impacted my life in a positive way for the last 20 years through your music and performance.
I know that there are many female artists who I would define as personal heroes but that many of them (Ani Difranco, Liz Phair, Tori Amos, Aimee Mann, and Kate Bush) do not continue to release albums that resonate with me year after year. To avoid any ambiguity, every album you have released has songs on it that mean a great deal to me. Also, I am not trying to shit talk those ladies. They are all amazing too in their own ways. But, from my humble perspective, your discography has been more consistent.
I know that based off of what I can gather from watching interviews and the like, you are a complex person who has often been pigeonholed and maligned. Why do we as humans like to try to sort people into categories and then mock them if they fall into a category that is unknown, not understood and/or not recognized by society, and consequently react to them as if they are bad or dangerous? Why is being unique and/or fluid often a threat to society or religion or any organized group with rules and expectations?
Here’s what I think:
You are a bad ass, but I think you are also extremely shy and sensitive.
You speak your mind and you do bold things to get your point across. I love you for this.
You are physically and spiritually beautiful.
You defy convention, maybe sometimes on purpose and maybe sometimes just because you are doing your thing.
Your outfit, haircut, dancing and singing is inspirational on the “The Value of Ignorance.” During that time in your career/life were you able to appreciate your coolness? I hope so. If not, feel free to appreciate it now.
I am so sorry that you have experienced trauma in your life. So many people are victimized as children. So many people are victimized as adults. I would wonder if adding fame to the mix might make things additionally painful or difficult. How do you integrate the pain(s) of the past and keep moving forward into the future? How does trauma affect your outlook on the world? Over the past 20 years that I have listened to your music I can see that you’re trying. You experiment, express, evolve, break down, and keep moving forward. You are brave. You are an example to others. I hope that being called an example doesn’t feel like too much expectation. The same goes for brave.
I appreciate that you have continued to write and perform music throughout the ups and downs. Sometimes it is also okay to take a break. Has anyone directly told you that you could do that if you want to? Sometimes it is also okay to take a different path. Has anyone directly told you this as well? If you need to hear it I will say it to you. If you want to keep on keeping on in the world of music of course I (and a load of other people) will be thrilled. But, I want to tell you that you are of value regardless of where you focus your energies. If you need to focus your energies on resting and regrouping that is a valuable way to spend your time. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
I hope this letter didn’t come across as too preachy or too cheerleaderesque. I don’t know you. I don’t know what it is like to be you and move through each and every day of your life. I can only tell you that I appreciate you. Your music has bettered my life. I’m glad you existed and I hope you will find a way to continue to exist.
Be safe (love you),
Thanks for writing and recording the following songs:
Jump In The River
Troy (recorded live in London)
This Is A Rebel Song