Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ingrid Michaelson - Kait's Mixtape

Music fuels a lot of my artwork. Actually, it fuels me in general. It is very rare when putting music on won't help me to focus, breathe and centre. There are some songs which are particularly good at giving me a lift and occasionally I'll find an artist who's able to do this with almost all their songs.

I'm not actually sure how I found Ingrid Michaelson. I think I heard it whilst I was working at the big blue box, or perhaps the song just happened to find its way onto my iPod like Natalie Merchant's My Hands. Regardless of how the song got there, Be O.K. just stuck and soon it found its way onto my OCD playlist.

To qualify for my OCD playlist a song will have one of three things:
1. It never fails to lift me up.
2. I can (and will) listen to it several times in a row without growing tired of it or wanting to hear it less.
3. It inspires me to do something new or renews energy for old projects.

Be O.K. is about remembering that everything, even when it feels absolutely awful, will be O.K. Life is ups and downs but neither lasts forever and that in itself is O.K.

I love it, and as a result I decided I should just go ahead and get a whole album of her stuff. I've not had loads of time to listen to music during the past month as so much of my time is taken up with work, school and the seemingly never-ending commute.

My course finished up on Thursday, Hallowe'en has come and gone and despite the few fireworks popping and crackling outside, Bonfire Night has come to an end. I've got no obligations, no entertaining to do, no errands to run. I came up to my room to sit and try to update this blog with something substantial. I opened up a window and stared at the blank space. Next to me I have some canvases displaying current works. Nothing I want to share yet.

I began to feel itchy, a bit off. What to write about?

I opened up my iTunes and put on the mixed play list of my most recent musical purchases. The xx, old school Tegan & Sara, Hot Chip, David Byrne with assorted other artists, 10,000 Maniacs and Ingrid Michaelson.

I never know what song is going to stick out to me on any given day. I like it because it makes my iPod a mix bag of fun surprises. A song that's been on my OCD playlist for ages will suddenly fall flat whilst a song I've often skipped suddenly becomes unbelievably addictive. In this case, however, a song I've never heard before suddenly becomes the best song I've heard in weeks.

I don't know what it is exactly, but You and I has become one of these songs. It's light, it's simple, it has a moment of silence followed by clap-stomp clap-stomp. It makes me want to twirl in a field of yellow flowers. It makes me want to skip on my toes, bouncing lightly. It makes me want to share the feeling it gives me with everyone I know and everyone I don't. I offer the feeling, the wonderful light, warm, happy glow, to every being on the planet.

Then a little further down, past The xx and Hot Chip comes another one of Ingrid's incredible pieces, Oh What a Day. One of those perfect break-up songs that isn't bitter and isn't spiteful but speaks with great truth of the pain of heartache and the consequential growth it inspires. It serves as a reminder and it makes me smile.

Then Keep Breathing starts, reflecting much of the same wisdom to be found in Be O.K.

All we can do is keep breathing...

All we can do is keep breathing...
All we can do is keep breathing...
All we can do is keep breathing...

I still feel a bit fidgety and a bit...stuck. But it's not pressing into me with urgency. It's just how I feel at the moment and this is but a moment and then there will be another one and another one and another one.

I'm going to sketch for a bit, perhaps prepare one of the new canvases that arrived last week, maybe work on some character sketches. And I'll remember that everything will be O.K. be O.K. be O.K.

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