I've been working on how to describe this record to people.
About two weeks before we were scheduled to start recording Building Heaven (the fall of 2012), my husband Kevin got extremely ill with thyrotoxicosis and had to be hospitalized. Kevin is my partner, my best friend, my drummer, my producer, the father of my child. It was incredibly scary and exhausting, his heart was malfunctioning and he could not sleep or relax for days at a time. We are very health conscious, active people and to have something like this happen was definitely a surprise. Once we got the diagnosis and knew that his life was no longer in danger we were relieved but I was definitely shaken. We were told that it could take up to a year for him to fully recover (or that he could have thyroid issues from now on).
We've sacrificed a lot over the years to pursue music and being from Hawaii and Canada means that we have zero family here in Los Angeles. No mothers, fathers or aunties to bring us casseroles or pick up our son at midnight on the way to the emergency room (which we have frequented over the last year), but we did have incredible support from so many amazing friends. We were truly moved by the outpouring of love and concern for our family.
All of this got me thinking though... what is the point of all of this? Is being in Los Angeles worth being separated from the rest of our family (I consider my family very close and I miss them terribly). We've lived here for 9 years and it's crazy how fast that time has passed. I felt incredibly homesick. The frailty and fleeting nature of life fell on top of me like a thousand bricks. I became scared that we were missing out on too many precious moments with our parents, siblings, cousins, aunties, nieces and nephews, and of course my grandma. I started to think that maybe 9 years ago we had made the wrong decision by choosing our career over the ability to stay as deeply connected to our family as possible.
I journaled, I prayed. I laid in bed and watched hulu for weeks at a time with my husband. I went into my little writing room and wrote. All sorts of conflicting emotions poured out of me. Everything from celebratory songs about enjoying the moment to deep songs about letting go and loving someone enough to stay with them in their final moments even though your scared...
In January we felt ready to start the record. Kevin and I and a bunch of instruments and rough demos and no real urgency. We took it slow. We laughed and talked and jammed and obsessed over the details and we had a damn good time. This record was the perfect distraction. The perfect outlet to pour out and process our hopes and frustrations and to practice taking steps again. For a few hours a day the both of us could abandon our worries about whether Kevin's body would heal or fail and just have fun doing something meaningful together. It was the most fun I've ever had in the studio. I can honestly say that I feel happier and more at peace in this moment than I ever have.
Sometimes it takes a storm for you to be able to appreciate the sunshine again. Life on this earth is precious and painful and beautiful and oh so temporary. I feel so lucky that I get to make music for a living. I know it's a ridiculous blessing, and I am grateful.
I hope that these songs encourage people. I hope they challenge people to live open and free lives, to love and be honest... thats where life's biggest regrets lie. I hope these songs make a few people feel a little less alone in the world.
That's the point of it all for me.