2017 has been the best year of my life. I've experienced incredible joy and happiness of all kinds. Below are my highlights of 2017, bloopers (that I may delete later), and plans for 2018.
(Not in any particular order)-
1. I finally released my first album, "A House of Many Rooms: New Concert Music by Fred Hersch." Recording this album was a huge undertaking, and I grew and learned a lot during the process (read blog post here). I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, one of the most fulfilling musical experiences in my career so far.
2. I got engaged! Without getting too sappy (I'll try), I have to say it's an incredible phenomenon to fall in love with someone who makes you laugh and happy and cares more for your well-being than their own, and then together make a commitment to be partners in life. Being with Austin has been the most healing experience of my life, and I am so grateful and proud to be by his side.
3. I fulfilled one of my bucket list items and gave a TEDx Talk! It was probably the most challenging and scary performance I ever gave but I'm so proud to have shared my journey and help spread the message of believing in people again (watch here).
4. I got to travel to Paris and London over the summer for the first time. Paris has been a dream and obsession of mine ever since I was little. Austin and I did all the touristy things- Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Shakespeare and Company, etc.- and I loved it.
5. The Art of Practicing Summer Institute- I got to have a powerful experience at this summer music program (read blog post here).
6. Guest Artist Visit at Cal Poly Pomona (read blog post here). This past fall, I had a blast meeting and working with students at CPP as a Guest Artist where I gave a lecture ("The Art of Living and Producing the Dream: A Workshop for Emerging and Determined Artists"), masterclass, and a solo recital of contemporary music ("Kaleidoscope Dreams").
7. Lots of great art and rich experiences. I felt invigorated recently when I went to see my favorite artist Yayoi Kusama's exhibit, "Festival of Life," at the David Zwirner Gallery here in NYC (read blog post here).
8. Supporting & being supported by wonderful colleagues and friends. I am so grateful to know and have so many supportive colleagues, friends, and mentors. I felt tremendous support from so many great people. I want to give a special shoutout to awesome music peoples Jade Simmons, Zadie Lawler, Kate Amrine, Walter Aparicio, Lana Norris, Emily Kalish, and every single person who supported my indiegogo campaign, listened to me rehearse my TEDx Talk and/or run-through some music, and/or sent me kind and encouraging words. It means the world.
9. 5 year anniversary since graduating from Manhattan School of Music- woot woot! When I graduated from MSM in 2012, I made a conscious commitment to stay in NYC for at least 5 years and pursue a music career. Even if things got difficult, I promised myself that I owed myself this chance to explore my deep-seated desires of creating art that I wanted to make. Reflecting on these past 5 years make me glad that I listened to my intuition and followed my dreams.
10. #MeToo Movement: Like many women, I felt HEARD for the first time in 2017. I felt heard in SO many ways but especially as a woman, and it has been truly fascinating to witness this culture shift happening before my eyes. Right before the #MeToo Movement went viral, I was inspired to go on instagram (follow me here) to share an experience of being the victim of sexual harassment at 19 years old by a powerful person. It felt so cathartic (and vulnerable) to share about this traumatic event, and I was amazed by the supportive response from friends and strangers alike, even some with their own stories. Moving forward, I'm exploring this idea of being heard and having a voice in my next project (keep reading below in looking ahead).
My friend and colleague pianist Walter Aparicio tweeted this recently-
Things can look shiny on social media but you never see the entire picture, so I'll share some of my
Bloopers of 2017
I was absolutely heartbroken when Trump won the election. I've gained almost 20 pounds. My house has been a complete mess since summer. I got very sick around Thanksgiving from stress and felt like I was going to die. There were many a rejection letter. There was at least one regrettable bad performance. Some of these experiences led to a silver lining and some have not (yet?)
Looking ahead in 2018.
Some plans and goals.
1. I've some secret projects in the works that I'm very excited to announce soon! (Sign up for my e-mail list to stay in the loop and/or keep eyes peeled on instagram).
2. My CD Release Parties. Save the date- the NYC release will be on April 5 at Joe's Pub.
3. Making a music video. I'm inspired by Wong Kar Wai's beautiful film "In the Mood for Love."
4. Developing a new storytelling concert centered around the theme of finally feeling heard as a woman, using the interplay of voice and piano and commissioning all women composers.
5. Expanding my creativity to all kinds of writing and different performance possibilities. I'm hoping to do an artist residency as part of the process.
6. Getting married.
7. Starting a vlogging channel on YouTube. I am increasingly scared to start doing this but hoping that I stick to it. Being scared is how I know when I should do something.
What are you looking forward to in 2018? Please share your ideas and plans in the comments below or drop me a line here.
Wishing you a Happy New Year!