Not So Haphazard After All

Tomorrow will be my very first album‘s tenth birthday. (That’s Nitia Cheveallier’s gorgeous cover art you see there.)  My engineer and my friends and I recorded it over the course of about two weeks at Young Avenue Sound in Memphis. My first big-deal recording studio memories all come from Young Avenue Sound, which was a great place to work and build dreams. Those were two of the most important weeks of my whole life, and the weeks, months, and years since have been nothing short of amazing. The songs keep coming, the shows keep coming, and I keep getting to meet more amazing fans, make more amazing friends, and share in your stories.

Even so, I can hardly believe it’s been a decade.

I know that I’m a different woman now than I was back then.  I’ve had so much bliss, so much heartache, learned so many lessons and had so much fun.  One reason that I’m grateful to have done that first album?  I have a beautiful, audible snapshot of the girl I was when I started this whole thing.  The girl who quit her job and took the leap, who believed in herself hard enough to grab her dream with both hands and TAKE OFF.  And I’m So Proud Of Her.

I can’t bang an album out in two weeks anymore.  🙂  My process is more complicated than it used to be, I’m pushing myself to create more complex recordings, and I am always learning as I go.  Nowadays, I’m both the talent and the engineer.  I treasure this, but part of me looks back at the Sooj who recorded Haphazard and thinks, “wow, I really had it easy, just getting to sing and play and let someone else work the knobs!”  I wouldn’t trade where I am, I don’t think.  So long as the magic is still working with me (and it is), I’m happy.

The CD release party for Haphazard in Memphis on Sunday, March 27 2004 was entirely self-produced, self-promoted, and self-funded.  I’d booked the event once I knew the album was printed and ready- Audiographic Masterworks called to tell me that my order was ready on my 24th birthday, February 22nd.  That day, I started printing flyers and making plans.  On March 15th, I gave my two-weeks’ notice at my (horrible) job.

I was terrified I’d be singing to an empty room at the CD release, and that nobody would care about my little project.  But the afternoon was a complete success.  Friends and fans came from out of town as well as in town.  My brother Sede came to sing with me, and my brother Luke led a drum circle outside in the beautiful sun, on the green grass.  My best friend drove up from central Arkansas.  It felt like half of everyone I’d ever met was there.  I made back what I’d put in to the event that day.  I made enough to cover some more of the album’s production/printing/replication costs.  I saw light at the end of my fears that none of this was going to work.  I had the support and confidence I needed to keep going.  And I did.

Time really does fly when you’re kicking booty.  Thank you all for being part of this wild, wonderful, magical living dream! Here’s to TEN MORE!