This audio was recorded in Oakland, California on Sept. 18th 2021, at the upright piano of Colette Washington, the most legendary Airbnb host I've ever had. A singer-turned-realtor, Colette was kinda like the queer mom I never knew. She's always cheering me on, and telling me how stoked she is to see me going after my dreams.
One night after a couple glasses of wine and some sticky-icky from her family's farm in Humbolt, we found ourselves crooning into the darkness. I’d started recording my own compositions 14 years prior on my birth mom’s upright, so this configuration felt natural and familiar to me. I decided to play Colette this song, “Barely A Lady,” which I'd written at least a decade previous. It’s one of my only piano songs I remember how to play, and I do still love playing it.
Vocally, however, I was playing it saaafe. I hadn’t sung in months at this point (which is a very long time for me). I had just started testosterone 13 months previous, and honestly didn't even know if I'd be able to sing anymore. I'd chosen to give up my attachment to my artist identity, in exchange for my True Self. (Spoiler alert: The Universe let me keep both.)
In this recording, you'll hear me taking that brand new low range of mine for a spin. With Colette’s enthusiastic encouragement, I was able to step totally outside of my comfort zone, and belt as high as my new voice would let me. In freeing my inhibitions, I freed myself. And though my voice cracked, it was the truest fucking note I’d ever sung.
Thank you for witnessing this important snap-shot in my transgender coming-of-age story. More to come soon :)))
Piano by Clear Mortifee
Vocals by Clear Mortifee & Colette Washington
Original lyrics by Clear Mortifee
BG percussion by Kiki the dog :-3
Original photo by Meredith Adelaide
Cover design by Clear Mortifee