Sitting in Starbucks, headphones poked into my ears, the dim rustle of conversations and clanging
silverware hover around me; the afternoon is waning and the light is rich and golden beyond the glass walls.
Diana Krall is singing in my ear. I keep tabbing over to the youtube page to watch the video. There's a bit of a disconnect, sometimes, when I see her singing and playing. She looks so...normal. She's just a blonde girl, playing the piano, singing a song. Without the visual, though, I'm completely absorbed in the thick resonance of the music she makes, the deep, warm, comfortable sound of...oh, something. I don't know. I can't find a word.
I'm overthinking. I love to hear Diana Krall sing and play, and I love that she's not dressed up fancy, she's not dancing, she's not showing cleavage or the hint of a thong, she's not selling anything but her ability to play and sing. She happens to be a girl, doing what she does, naturally.
I have always related to her music; I'm a girl, I play piano, I sing, so there you go. That's enough, in itself. But I've gotten caught up in listening to her latest, an album full of the songs I played on vinyl in my adolescence (and a bit beyond), and in this new space, as she interprets songs that formed my appreciation of pop music, I'm connecting in another way.
She's a woman, making music.
I wish my life were that simple.
That's not entirely true. It's just this:
I'm stressed, slightly, today. Straining to fill in the gaps left by the departure of a key member of our team, I'm thinking about music again. Specifically, thinking about music in regards to its role in our weekly services. That's been my calling card, for so long; it's the language I speak. It's easy for me, generally speaking. But my paradigm has shifted a bit in the past two years, and I'm leaning more into ministry beyond the music. Now that I'm looking back at where I've been the past few years, I see the evolution of my passion and what feels like a good fit in this season.
I can do music. I'm comfortable, and at the deepest part of me, I think that singing and playing music - specifically, worship music - reveals the truest part of who I am. But sometimes that feels like it's best expressed sitting in my living room, in the dark, alone - without an audience - than in some other venue. In that other venue, I'd rather shake hands and say hello and listen well and hear a story and make a connection, a clear connection, without a piano in between us.
That's a radical shift for me.
A friend and I had lunch today, and we talked about how changes happen; how we move from thinking about things in certain boxes that make sense, and how our equilibrium is upset when the rules seem to change or the box gets moved. Or you meet somebody that makes you consider changing your mind.
Change happens, externally and internally. Diana Krall plays wicked jazz; she can hang with the best of the best and demonstrate impressive chops. She proved herself in that realm. Today, she's singing an old Crowded House tune.
Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know that they won't win
And I am as powerfully moved by a recording of this simple pop song with a standard string section and a harp - a harp? - and I think to myself, "Huh. This life."
It's who she is, not what she does. It's that simple, really.
She sits and sings, and her hair is a mess, and it makes me cry.
No harp in this version, but it's the one that moves me. Check out her entire new record, Wallflower.