My Dirty Little Secret
Well, I'll just get that out in the open right away. Actually, I hate to disappoint, but my dirty little secret is really neither dirty, nor is it much of a secret to anyone who knows me....but here goes anyway: My little hidden skeleton...my dark yucky little down-in-there secret is....that I am a chick singer/songwriter.
There it is. That's my secret.
And the reason I deem it as such is that for some time now- I would say at least a few years going- I've been treating that piece of information about me as if it truly is a dirty little secret. Because I don't LIKE it. I don't LIKE calling myself a singer/songwriter. Perhaps if you are reading this and you are also a singer/songwriter- you know exactly what I mean.
First of all, who wants a fucking / slash in their career name. It's stupid- it makes you look wishy/washy, like you can't decide what you are and so you're gonna call yourself this/and also this. But when you are a singer/songwriter, you don't have much choice because you can't just call yourself a singer. That's part of what you do- surely. You sing stuff. But you primarily sing stuff that you write, so you're also a writer- a songwriter. Which to any of us who do the singing of the songwriting, I think we'd all mostly agree is really the bulk of the whole singer/songwriter deal. Singing your songs is just not the hard part at all.
But you don't want to just call yourself a songwriter. Because then folks assume you are a hole-y- cardigan-clad sweaty bearded fellow sitting around in your little room all day dipping your pen in the inkwell, smoking Pall Malls, and occasionally strumming on your instrument of choice in service of bringing to life your little musical ditties. This may be true- this may be exactly who you are when you are writing your songs- but when you're an actual singer/songwriter, you do occasionally don the sweater without any holes, trim your beard and take your instrument and Pall Malls out into the world and perform what you've penned in front of other people. So you are a performer.
I've tried that one on for size too. Performer. Musician. (Pronounced Mewzishian. As in Gentleman or Lady Mewzishian.)
Neither of those really cut it either.
So- here I am- stuck with the closest thing I can find to name what it is I do when not taking care of my children, watching inordinate amounts of television, or attempting to have a relationship with my husband. I am a singer/songwriter. Yugh.
Perhaps one reason for the 'yugh,' friends, is that I wouldn't mind being a singer/songwriter if I didn't know how very deeply much the music industry disdains such a person. Such a term. I cannot tell you how many times I've been in the presence of an industry person, discussing my music, even perhaps after they'd heard some of it and enjoyed it, casually referring to myself as a singer/songwriter-- only to see their face visibly fall. It's like the word "cancer" in some circles. You just don't want to attach it to yourself. If Beyonce had called herself a singer/songwriter at any point in time, she would have gotten nowhere. Or at least someone at some point told her to cut that shit out and just focus on that fabulous face, ass, hips and hair.
And I can't say that I blame the industry for this reaction. The truth is, there are so many dreadfully awful singer/songwriters out there because it seems to be the gateway drug into the kingdom. You can't be in a band unless you've found a number of other folks who play different instruments other than yourself to get together, decide to create music together, and put in the amount of time TOGETHER to make it happen. (Not to say there aren't many dreadful bands out there, for sure.) But becoming a singer/songwriter is so much easier. In order to claim yourself to be a singer/songwriter, all you really have to do is sit in your room by yourself with your banjo or your piano or guitar or harp or spoons or whatever, write what you deem to be a song- which in some instances seems to take up less time than say, finishing a hamburger- and play along with yourself while you're singing said piece of material. Anyone can do that! (Unfortunately, as is evidenced by the many horrid singer/songwriters out there, NOT anyone can do it, and in fact most people should NOT.)
But I digress. Because I don't really think the main reason I disdain singer/songwriter is because of the music industry. I actually disdain the music industry more than the dreaded s/s moniker.
I think the main reason I disdain singer/songwriter is that I, like all other artists out there, am growing and shifting, and am really tired of making music on my own. Plus, I don't really want to listen to singer/songwriters anymore...really it's been a long time since I've done that. I mostly listen to bands- always have since I was a kid mostly. And somehow in order to fall in love with myself again, in order to regenerate the moxie needed to put myself out in the world musically on a regular basis, I'm going to have to distance myself from either the word singer/songwriter itself, or the judgement I have placed upon the word that has described me for so long. And I believe the former may take place faster.
So. Let's not call Holly Long a singer/songwriter anymore, shall we? Let's call her a rocker. And a writer. And sure- a musician, a songwriter. Sure- a crankypants artist. An all-over-the-map sorta comedic, schizophrenic song and word lovin bird. Because that feels so much more right to me.
If only I could boil all that down into another name I deemed more suitable. Even if it had a slash in it, I don't think I'd mind. If the alchemy was right, and the word encompassed all that I am- I think I'd choose to take it on. Even to celebrate it. For now- all I got is "Holly." That's the only one that seems in any way fitting.
Holly/Long. There we go.