There are many steps that lead an artist to her voice. I will skip a massive amount of them to try and thread together why I think I'm here doing what I'm doing now. In the biography below, you won't see the part about singing in every kid's choir in Atlanta that my ultra-supportive parents could drive me to. You won't see the high school choir director who saw my potential and pushed me to get voice lessons. You won't see the small program at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA (nope, not Ohio) that nurtured me in safe waters before I left the country for a decade.
But I guess you just got that here.
For now, let's start in 2018.
I moved to Oakland, California in 2018 after living in Berlin, Germany, for a decade. In Berlin, I studied German Art Song at the Universität der Künste Berlin, where I worked with some of the most important art song and opera performers of the twentieth century, including Grace Bumbry, Eric Schneider, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. From there, I went on to perform in German opera houses for five years, including the Komische Oper Berlin, the Deusche Oper Berlin, and Anhaltisches Theater Dessau.
Off the stage, I was an activist for refugee rights and acceptance into German society, lead by the philosophy that the culture of Berlin belongs to everyone. I arranged, trips to galleries led by the exhibiting artist, an outing to a fireworks competition, as well as sixty tickets to three shows at the Deutsche Oper Berlin for refugees who had never seen an opera.
After moving back to the US, I was struck by the desperation of inequality, most dramatically evident on the streets of San Francisco and all over the East Bay. The haunting words and melodies of the Winterreise kept coming to mind as the most fitting music for this societal heartbreak. After a year of research into the facts and roots of California’s homelessness, as well as work as a utility advocate, I brought my concept to life in May of 2019 as a live concert of Schubert's Winterreise performed alongside audio clips of interviews with mothers who had experienced housing instability telling their own stories. As I interviewed the mothers for this project, I was preparing for my own journey as a mother; my first child was born at the end of June 2019.
After Covid struck, I saw the opportunity to turn this into a wider reaching project by making it into a film that melds the worlds of music video and documentary, and that is my major artistic endeavor at the moment.
But it is not the only one.
Becoming a mother opened up the way I express myself publicly in a massive way. Soon after my son was born, I started writing poetry. On Instagram.
It began as a way to express what I was experiencing without posting pictures of my son all over social media. My partner and I had decided we wanted to leave that up to him, so that left me with a conundrum: after sharing my life over the internet - all the way back to Livejournal days in the early 2000s - how do share this massive change in my life without sharing the center of it?
My answer was pictures of the evidence of our child and texts that shared my inner journey - the things I was noticing, feeling, experiencing as a new mom, many almost as a letter to my pre-child self.
As if to tell her, "No, you will not lose your voice. You will not disappear behind your child. Your life will crack open, you will expand, the power of who you are will have a conduit, and all these things you never understood will make so much sense."
That effort naturally evolved into poetry, and I've been sharing it through my Instagram and Facebook for the last year and a half.