My friend, Jody Denberg has a nickname for me- “Boh’ova” which is short for “Bohemian Overachiever.” It’s pretty dead-on. I have a knack for attracting the extreme and pursuing the seemingly impossible. For example, when I met Jody, I was in yoga teacher training, preparing to record “Right Where I Belong” and working part time waiting tables at a gentleman’s club all while swimming regularly at Barton springs, running around barefoot and enjoying the sweet chime of my ankle bells. Strange combo, I’ll admit, but it’s me. I have always LOVED to challenge myself, dream large and pursue the dream until I’m living it.
When I got sick while touring “We Are One” in 2010, i brushed it off. . . until my immune system mandated otherwise. . . by the dawn of 2011, I had no choice but to listen to my body- and began to do one of the most uncomfortable things I’d ever experienced in my life- REST.
2011 taught me a lot about the power of simplicity. I started the year with a compromised immune system and a lung infection that I had toured with for six months. I was exhausted, depleted in every way in body mind & spirit. I simplified my life, dropped my career strategies and ambitions in order to nurse my body back to health. This was perhaps one of the scariest things I’d ever done. I was terrified. I had never been so sick for so long and I feared that touring was contributing to my near-pneumonia state. . . Touring was my primary source of income and I didn’t know what a music career would look like if I had to give it up.. I got a part time day job to keep me off the road for a while, started seeing a nutritionist to strengthen my lungs and immune system and took life one-day-at-a-time. I had no idea what my life would look like if and when I got better.
I finally got better in March. The cough subsided. I kept the day job while I figured out ways to make a living as a performer & songwriter off-the-road. I was still afraid to put pressure on myself to tour, make big plans or salvage my career in some heroic way. I was barely healed and I wanted to do things differently. For many years I had experienced the same immune collapse toward the end of the year, but it had never lasted for 8 consecutive months. I had to listen to the underlying messages my body was giving me. . It simply didn’t have the stamina to run the business, create and tour all at the same time. I didn’t want to have another season that felt so hopeless and exhausted by my own best efforts at being a “successful artist.”
I took 2011 to get to the bottom of this and here’s what I found. I found a few new songs, I found that despite my lack of touring, I somehow survived financially. I discovered that my value wasn’t determined by the number of show-dates on the calendar. I was still loved and cherished by friends and fans. I actually gave myself permission to grieve for the first time in my life and I grieved a lot. All the effort, struggles, albums, tours, hopes and dreams gone by the wayside, relationships gone bad, time, money and energy seemingly wasted. . . I just let myself experience all of it instead of fighting it. I knew that I had to find a new way to live and make music, but I didn’t pressure myself to come up with a detailed summary of what that new way looked like. I gave myself one whole year to just be without doing something “successful.”
Success happened anyway. The Belgian tour in October was a hit. I was there 2 weeks and made a whole new album and it was easy and magical. I practiced yoga for 40 consecutive days (virtually impossible on the road). . . I helped organize two incredibly successful benefit concerts in 2011. One called Boobapolooza to help Ginger Leigh in her fight against breast cancer (she is now cancer free!!) and another called the Holiday HAAM Jam. We produced a CD and concert to raise money and awareness for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians and we were #2 selling album at Waterloo Records! I indulged in night-swimming at Barton Springs in the evenings during a drought that never seemed to end. . . There are wonderful lights there that reflect on the water at night and sparkle when you swim. . . I would marvel at the glittery spray that fell from my arms during a long easy back-stroke across the pool and delight in the sound of people cheering at the diving board. . . I woke up every morning so grateful that I didn’t have to sleep sitting up to keep the fluid from my lungs from suffocating me. I cherished every breath. I learned a bunch of holiday music and delighted at my holiday gigs at the dancing singing children and the sparkle in their eye that taught me what that season is all about. . . I traveled most of December, performing holiday shows in Chicago, San Antonio, Orlando, Austin and . . . I didn’t get sick the whole season!!!
2012 will be the year of the Boh’ova Renaissance. I have a new perspective on things. I want to continue making music, but not just for adults in night clubs. I want to license my songs to television, movies & advertising, I want to record a holiday album and start performing more shows for children. I want to be more involved in community and produce more concerts for good causes. I want to write dozens of amazing songs. . . And I am nervous about it, but I am ready to take the plunge.
More details about the 2012 musical projects will be on my Patronism Blog. . . I am excited to take my relationships with my fans and patrons to the next level too. Lets rock this year!