What Brings You Joy? New Music Video from Upcoming Record!

Hi beloved friends,
I’ve missed writing to you! I’ve been working behind the scenes on my new record as well as creating this music video. I’m really happy to be sharing the song “Joy” with you now. You can watch the video, directed by Toko Shiiki, HERE

The story behind the song…
In 2016, I was grieving as I watched the news daily, saw people suffering and thought about the kind of world my girls might grow up in. I had attempted to shield them from most of the news because they were so little that it would’ve been confusing on a number of levels. In the meantime, my neighbor Susie invited me to write a song for the Women’s March, a sing-a-long for women to sing on the bus. It was coming very soon so I told her I didn’t think I could do it but the idea wouldn’t let me go. Sometimes the media machine of news is constantly provoking us so it’s easy to get in a continual state of reacting and I wanted to not be that puppet on a string. I began reflecting on my own truth outside of a state of reaction. What’s important to me? What do I care about? How do I connect with what’s important to me, to my deepest self and values? How does how I start my day affect everything else? Then I decided to go to the March because we were having a last minute concert with Natalia & Arianna Zukerman, Mona Tavakoli, Chaska Potter, Edie Carey, Sara Bush, Sara Bareilles and others. I wanted to finish it in time to play it for those women so we could bond together over music…so I did!

“Joy” was born out of my desire to reconnect with what I love, to be rooted in the essential goodness and calm that’s always there for us though sometimes it’s deep below the tumultuous waves. You can watch the video HERE

AND..I’d love to continue the conversation!! What brings YOU joy? If you’re inspired to, please share your word or sentence and I’ll gather them all to create another video with all of us! It would be a fun miracle to connect around this!

Here’s how to participate:
Please share #WhatBringsYouJoy in whatever way feels comfortable, whether it’s one word, or a full sentence. You can share in one of two ways:

1 – Email me a picture of you holding up a piece of paper with your word on it OR
2 – Email me a short video clip (up to 5 seconds, preferably less than 3) including your word or sentence for what brings you joy.

Ps3: If you know someone who might enjoy this video, please share it with them via…https://mailchi.mp/4f49a0200bb7/joyintheworld

How A Starbucks Gig Led to Marriage (& Doorway Dreams)

When I was around 24, I met a young man who played blues guitar. I really liked the way he played and my dream was to ask him if he’d play songs with me. Soon after, I found out he liked Tori Amos so I grew emboldened to ask him. Would he say yes?

One day, we met up in a practice room and I played him one of my very first songs (I’m embarrassed to tell you the name of it for fear that you might look it up ;-) ) Luckily, he said yes. I had no idea that this little dream of mine was leading to a MUCH BIGGER DREAM of us cultivating a loving and joyful romantic relationship, marrying and having two beautiful daughters.

My journey with this man has been musical, mystical, ridiculously fun and full of adventure, but I never could’ve dreamed this big for myself. I just couldn’t have conceived of it.

Similarly, I also know a young woman who answered a calling she felt via an email. We first met in a songwriting workshop and she told me later that she felt I noticed and appreciated something in her work. She had an unusual song about a tree and it really struck me.

A year later, I sent out an invitation to my email list for one person to work with me one-on-one for six months (& to open for me at City Winery in Chicago). She was one of the songwriters who responded to that email.

Looking back, what unfolded next still amazes me. This woman wanted to write songs more regularly (she was relatively new to it) and increase her confidence in writing and performing.  In the end, she not only wrote a beautiful batch of songs, but she liked them so much she decided to record an EP with me producing, and then she auditioned and submitted her EP to Berklee College of Music where she was accepted and now is a full-time student!

I’m a big dreamer, but looking back, I had no idea how big the journey she was on! This particular experience really hit home because it was her step toward her smaller dream of an opening set at a club that led this woman into a whole new life that she vigorously loves.

What about you?

Have you ever had a doorway dream that led somewhere wildly amazing? If so, please feel free to share it below (We all love a good story!)

Or, likewise, is there a doorway open now that is calling to you (& you could walk through) even though you don’t know exactly where it leads?

Tell us that too if you’re willing!

Sometimes we’re badasses and we take our brave steps (and we need that now in our world possibly more than ever). Other times, we think small and don’t follow the impulses of our hearts to move toward what we want (for ourselves, for others, for the world).

Sometimes we want to know the outcome in advance.

I can be like that (insisting that I know something will work in advance). These days, however, my wild gypsy soul wants more than anything to be surprised, to NOT always know, to just BE, follow her instincts and have unstructured play time like a kid. Can you relate? BESIDES, often the truth of what’s possible for us is WAY BIGGER than we can imagine or possibly know :)

How could I have conceived of my empathic daughter Cecilia all those years ago? How could I possibly have predicted bold baby Helen?

I simply wanted this blues guitar boy to play a gig with me at Starbucks ;-)

I was thinking small, but that’s okay, because that gig at Starbucks was the doorway to everything…

What is/was your doorway dream? Feel free to share if you’re willing.

Ps: The deadline to sign up for Soul Songs School is next Monday, March 5th! If you want to join us, simply enroll HERE (If you desiring enough structure to support your unstructured creative soul and songwriting, I’ve got your back!)

Ps2: March 21st, Frank (aforementioned blues guitar boy ;-) ) and I play at The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI! Tickets are available HERE.

My Grandpa Moose

My grandpa “Moose” as we called him had many careers. He was a state policeman, he laid pipe line, he worked for a dairy farm and he also played Triple-A baseball and coached little league. But he loved nothing like he loved music.

I learned my affinity for melody from him. He used to play me old Irish ballads and songs from The Music Man and The Sound of Music. He also played me songs on the clarinet and flute. He told me at the very beginning of my foray into songwriting that out of my first batch of songs, only one had a melody that could catch a listener. I was slightly annoyed, but looking back, I know he was right.

Moose always wanted to write songs of his own and he did (a little) although not for long. Once he went to NYC to meet with a producer to show him his songs. I think he thought he needed permission to continue or he sensed he needed help. I don’t think that meeting went well and afterwards, he may have given up.

Could my grandfather have written his songs? Yes.

Did he feel disappointed because he had the desire and capability but lacked the know-how to make his dream fully come to be? Probably.

Did my grandpa have a lot to share due to his rich life experience? I’m sure.

Do I wish the songs he could’ve written existed today? You bet I do!

I did find a poem my grandfather wrote as well as the singular song above. Both mean so much to me. It’s like he’s alive through the page for a moment. I can join him in his experience. He’s right here with me.

So often, I wish I had “more of” the people who’ve left. More of my grandmother, more of my grandfather. For my grandmother, I have a crocheted blanket, a photo of us smiling together when I was 4 and many good memories. I loved her.

With my grandfather, even though I wish he had been able to write the songs he longed to and that I could now play them for my own children, I appreciate the legacy he did leave. He shared hundreds of pieces of music with me before I was even 9 years old and he took me on outings to town halls where big bands played.

His love of music is alive in me.

But my grandfather was drafted into a war, he threw out his pitching arm right before he had a big baseball opportunity and in his small town, even though he learned some through imitation (which is a great way to learn) he had no one to help him fully develop his songwriting craft so that he could appreciate his own songs the way he appreciated the classic ones he loved and played for me.

Sometimes I think it’s not fair. Who am I to get to write songs if my grandfather didn’t have the same chance? Back then, writing songs wasn’t something you could just do (or at least he didn’t have that experience). Someone needed to give you permission, tell you you were special (“had talent”). But the truth is no one is special AND each of us is special in our own way, which is precisely why it’s important for our unique voices to be heard in whatever form that takes.

I used to think I should honor the lives of my grandparents by struggling with them in solidarity, but the truth is I’m not helping him by not writing my songs and I can’t go back in time and help my grandpa write his.I can honor my ancestors by creating and doing now what their circumstances didn’t allow for.

What about you? What are the things your ancestors lives didn’t allow for that you long to do? Do you let yourself do them? Do you believe you honor your ancestors by doing the things you love?

Feel free to leave a comment below.

What will you leave? What will you make? What is your legacy?

Feel free to share below.

It’s possible your ancestors are rooting for you :)


PS: Soul Songs School and Our Luminaries Group starts March 5th! If you’d like to join us, simply enroll HERE

PS2: The amazing singer-songwriter Susan Werner joins me for Magic Music Monday this February 26th at 11amEST :) Booyah! Feel free to join us on my Facebook page.

Me & Moose :)

Songs that destroy us (+ Magic Music Monday tomorrow at 11amEST)

You know the feeling when something breaks you open and a song suddenly comes out, right from the center of your soft, loving, bold, gentle heart?

Then maybe you listen back to it and it breaks your own heart to hear it and at the same time, it sets you free.

Or, have you had the experience of hearing a song of someone else’s that’s so beautiful that you begin to cry and everything you’ve been holding just releases, all you felt that was tight and like you had to control it, you just let it go. You let it go on the waves of vibration of that melody and you whisper a thank you in your heart.

This has happened to me so many times I can’t count. I love experiencing this and always wanted to give it back to people. So I did. So I do.

The experience of release, of catharsis, of joy amidst loss, of unabashed love and knowing. The way you feel about a song that just destroys you in the best possible way.

When I hear a song that “destroys me,” what is destroyed about me is the part that’s not real anyway, my ego, my fear, my hanging on for dear life, and what is left of me after is love, my heart shining a light out, glints of light on my tears and JOY. I’ve let it all go.

Can you relate? To me, it’s similar to what Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah expresses. And it reminds me of something my songwriting friend Rick once said to me: That you know you’ve arrived as a songwriter if you’ve written a song that makes people cry.

I think that’s partially true, but it’s also true if you make people laugh, feel gratitude, excitement. All of it.

Music is the thing that gets into the cracks. And we all whisper a thank you.

If you want to join us in crafting songs that change you and change others, our Soul Songs group begins March 5th!

You can join us by enrolling HERE


Ps1: Join Natalia Zukerman & I tomorrow morning Monday, February 12th at 11amEST for Magic Music Monday! We’ll play a couple of songs, drink our morning coffee with you and see what unfolds. Feel free to mark your calendar and join us with your coffee or tea on my Facebook page HERE (you may have to “friend me” for it to work)