Trust. Breathe. Joy: Thoughts on the Live Recording Shows

#Truthbooking: I didn’t expect to take so long formulating my thoughts. That really caught me off guard. For someone who processes most readily via words, either spoken or pen-to-page, to be rendered speechless is a fairly rare occurrence. Three weeks ago tonight I took to my favorite of stages for the first of two live-recording shows. I was so nervous that first night. Taking visible deep breaths, trying to regulate my heart beat, to come down into my body and settle in to my shoes, into my story.

My childhood voice teacher and mentor often spoke to me about turning my nervous energy into excitement. Little did I know, his words ring in my head all these decades later, he’s still teaching me to reframe my emotions and harness them for good use:

“You’ve got this, K.C. Breathe. Trust yourself. Trust the work you’ve put in and then let yourself go. Stay loose. Trust what will happen when you open your mouth. You’ve done the work. Now do your thing.” I found myself reciting his words in my head that first night. Calming myself. It’s fascinating how we go back to the beginning without even trying. How while we’re in a defining moment we go back to the moments that first showed us the way, first formed us.

I don’t normally get nervous before a show. Taking my place behind a microphone feels more like home to me than most arenas in my life. But these shows…. well, they felt high stakes. For all the obvious reasons, of course, such as we were recording them for an album and Friday night was being filmed in its entirety. Nothing like posterity to keep you on your toes. More than the obvious was the fact that I haven’t released any new music since before becoming a mom.

We like to think that we can have it all. I have tried this theory out, and I’m here to dispel the myth. We cannot have it all, at least not all at once. Superwoman, I am not. When I paused my growing career to have a family, I took a big risk. Before I had kids, I had a plan and a notion of how it would all come together. I was pretty naïve. But how could I know? I’d never had a kid before. It’s easy to make plans about how things will look when you have theoretical children. I now know that actual real live children tend to turn all previous best-laid plans on their heads. I never intended to take a five-year break from releasing new material. Truth be told, I made two beautiful miraculous humans during those five years, so technically those could be known as my most creative years ever. That’s how I’m choosing to frame it from here on out. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t question in those 5 years whether or not I would ever release new music again.

So there I was, standing at the Blue Door, recording a new live album over two nights of SOLD-OUT (what?!) shows. I think that first night I had to take so many deep breaths and sort of pinch myself to confirm that the experience was real. But the most amazing thing happened along the way to realizing it was in fact real: I stood in my story and sang my songs and for the first time in my whole life I knew what it felt like to trust myself, and to be myself with nothing in the way. I knew I was enough. I have done so much work, and to be sure there will be more to come. But in that moment I opened my heart and my art and claimed joy like I’ve never, ever known.

To each of you beautiful and generous friends who shared the evenings with me, thank you. Heaps of gratitude to you. I couldn’t help but smile when nearly every person posting on social media after the shows either used the word “Magic” or “Feelings”, or both. I haven’t known how to articulate all this, but suffice it to say, in all my days and thousands of shows, I will never forget these two nights in April 2017. As an artist there are many seasons of striving, struggling, seeking. I hope this is just the beginning of a season of finding, being, trusting. What a joy!