In 2014 I planned a wedding on a small budget, had a major label record deal, lost a major label record deal, rallied with my band mates to rise from the ashes by getting back in the studio, shooting music videos, planning a new release on our own terms, moved from our home of the past 5+ years, spent a week in the hospital with my father while he was being diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma – 2 weeks prior to our wedding – got married, went on a honeymoon, raised about $80,000 for dad’s health care bills, played lots of shows, recorded some more, went through 6 months of chemo by my dads side, took on a second day job, and released a new EP.
My friends and family didn’t get to see me much in 2014 – to them I offer sincere apologies. It felt like my usually lazy-self never stopped moving once. And while a lot of those things were some of the scariest, hardest, and deepest struggles I’ve ever been through I am still here, sane, and with the knowledge that I can do anything. I can accomplish anything. I can bust ass. I can work hard. And I can have great things to show for it.
I remember the intense feeling of excitement when it came time to sign my name on the record deal line. The feeling of your stomach magically floating up inside your body you’re so nervous. It was taking a huge jump into the unknown, and I guess in a lot of ways I felt like this was it. All the shit we had been through as a band, going through line–up changes, making a drastic and intentional change to our sound, being sued by an exbandmate for all the money we had in the bank, racking up our credit card to go on some crappy tours, had all been worth it because now someone was investing in us. Someone believed in us and wanted to help realize our vision.
We signed the deal with Fairfax, a subsidiary of Universal Republic, and headed down to LA to make a record with them at the legendary Sound City studios. I know our band has shared it already, so I’ll make this section as short as possible. Basically – we came home from making a record, things were quiet, found out the label went under, then found out the major wanted to up–stream us. Big label didn’t like the production, liked half the songs but not the other half, wanted 30 more demos, didn’t want to come see us live, and we decided after being dicked around for a year that we wanted out. We weren’t getting anywhere, and even worse we weren’t allowed to do anything ourselves while tied to this label. We wanted to release new material, we wanted to tour. After we walked away from Universal I think we all felt totally lost. It was starting over in every sense of the word. But honestly now that I’ve had some time and perspective, I know that we simply weren’t ready. We weren’t the band that we are today. Today I feel confident in who we are, what we’re doing, and what our vision is moving forward.
In a sense I am grateful it didn’t work out before, because who knows, it could have been our one shot and we wouldn’t have been able to deliver the way we would now. And in the past year we have put blood sweat and tears into setting up and self-releasing our False Starts EP, working out our live show kinks, and planning for what‘s next.
In the midst of this band hoopla, and working full time, I tried to plan a dream wedding. And anyone who has planned a wedding knows it is a fuckload of work. I am far from the girl who has dreamed about every detail of her lavish fairytale wedding since the 2nd grade, but I still wanted to have something special. From the beginning we knew we would be working with a small budget. Once you start uncovering the massive costs a wedding racks up, you will be amazed how anyone affords it in the first place – I think the average wedding costs somewhere around $23,000 dollars – and we were able to do ours for about a quarter of that thanks to our phenomenal village of helpers! I hate to ask for a hand–out and didn’t want to make anyone feel obligated to help with our wedding, but it all came together and was made possible because of them!
After looking at about 8 local event spaces (that averaged around 3,000 each), we found the Dakota Park Place in our very own neighborhood of West Seattle that was a screaming deal at only $700 for 7 hours. My mom‘s co-worker and her husband who do wedding photography on the side got on board to shoot our wedding for a ridiculously great price even though they deserve a fortune for the fantastic work they do! Our dear friend Brent Amaker stood in as officiant. Some friends who own several restaurants catered our wedding as a wedding gift! Our oldest family friends who practically helped raise me all showed up and took care of everything the days leading up to the wedding and on the day itself. They wrote pieces of beautiful marital advice to read during our ceremony, ran errands picking up rentals, helped my mom make our wedding cake, picked up flowers from the farmers market to make centerpieces the morning of, and even stayed late to help clean up the venue.
When it came time this past Thanksgiving to go around the table and share with our family members what we were thankful for, I felt this wave of heartache come over me, followed swiftly by overwhelming gratitude and a great sense of accomplishment. Follow through has not always been my strong suit. I think I generally can be a lazy person, love to sleep in and veg out. My anxiety, stress, and guilt comes from tasks not finished. I carry around guilt from things I didn’t accomplish in high school! (I should really let some of that shit go). So at the Thanksgiving table, when it came my turn to share, I all of a sudden knew what to say. “This is been probably the hardest and most trying year of my life, but also the most rewarding. I am thankful for learning the power of hard work and witnessing the fruits of my labors”.