Music is a journey for me. It is an ongoing process of evolution and self-discovery, in the least cliche new-ager sense you could imagine. Music is like a powerful ocean: once you get in past a certain point you either find the balance of surrender-surf-swim OR you try to fight the inevitable and get totally screwed. I find myself in the back and forth/in-betweens of those two states of being on a day-to-day basis.
I am constantly being humbled by “my” music: When I teach, I learn how much I don’t know and bow my head to MY teacher- the music itself. My students are my guides in communication, kindness, vulnerability, and honesty. I never assume anything about what my role is in someone’s life anymore. Like the ocean, teaching has its plan for me and my job is really to get out of the way of the music that flows through me to my students. It ain’t about me.
Songwriting is like staring at a mirror and facing what I really am underneath the mask I wear for ‘the public;’ and as my courage grows so does my ability/willingness to take a fearless inventory of what it is I really have to say and let it be said in a way that satisfies my miraculous and concisely poetic muse.
I am a committed improvisationalist when it comes to singing and vocal work. I have faced what I thought were my limits with my voice so many times, I have also contorted my vocal body and breath in an attempt to prove myself to the imaginary masses, the illusive critic within. I have wept silently while gargling salt water while chanting “i am not Beyonce, I am Adrienne, I am not Aretha, I am Adrienne, I am not Stevie Wonder, I am Adrienne. Let me sing like myself please!” (Singers, you know this one…) My Persian roots and jazz background guide me back home to my body when I get lost wondering in the woods of Trying to Sound like Other People. I am so HONORED to have such a deep and sweet connection with truly liberating forms of singing.
It is in performance when I face my ego, my will, my arrogance, my anxiety, my insecurity, and my demons with the most unbridled mercilessness in all the areas of my musical life. My painter/author mother told me once, “An artist’s job is to walk up to the edge of the deep chasm within the self where all the darkness dwells, spend enough time there to get a good sense of it all, not fall in and then report back to the rest of us.” Gee thanks, mom… So there I am on stage, reporting back to you all, trying not to get pulled past the point of no return, bearing my literal soul to you and then afterward smiling and shaking hands. “Sign my mailing list?!” Thank God I don’t drink.
We want our artists and musicians to show us the rawness of life! The more raw, real, and rough the better. It’s what we are living for: truth. I want to do that for you, for me, for my life. I want to tell the truth, as it appears to me, and really make you feel it, as feelingly as possible. But here’s the really important element of all this that I missed for so many years- I have to be ok with myself and what the truth of me looks like before I share it with any and everyone. It doesn’t work for me as an artist to hate myself in any way and then get on stage and get you all to like me. It’s very unsettling. So I don’t do that anymore.
What do I do now? I commit daily to the simple work of loving and accepting myself more and more. The only way for me to be an artist and also a human who has healthy relationships and can support my life moving forward in a good way is to be in a consistent state of being Humbled by Love. I am humbled by the love that Music has for me. It is an honor to make the music I do. When I create music, whether alone or with and for others, I know my purpose in LIFE! I know why I am here without a doubt. I am so happy to touch any real meaning in anything and with my open hands, heart, and voice, share with YOU what it is that has value to me.
This is what I’m about. I’m about the love and the sustainability of being an artist and musician. This is my manifesto. I am truly an open book, I am ready to show you literally anything from the shelves in my basement (or whichever room in my metaphorical home) if it could be of any use to you in your pursuit of a life worth living. It would be my absolute and most supreme honor to inspire, influence or encourage you in any way and especially in the realms of music.