The Warner Music Group is auctioning off the bonnet of a MINI Cooper signed by Fun. and many more artists during their official Grammys after party earlier this year. Proceeds from this auction benefit the Children’s Cancer Association’s MusicRx. You can learn more about the auction HERE

Mission iPod

My job is so strange and wonderful. The other day, our boss called us and said a social worker was requesting an iPod for a preteen in the PICU at the other hospital. His iPod wasn’t holding a charge and he was going through a lot of pain, and the social worker was hoping to get him some music. Our iPod checkout is still getting back up and running, so this was the first request of its kind, but we stopped service and drove back to the office to get an iPod and lock, and then went off to the PICU at the other hospital.

While the whole hospital setting has an energy unlike anywhere else, the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) is a different world within it. A lot of the kids are not responsive - some are on intubation, or hooked up to more machines than I could properly name or explain. Many of them are sedated, and some are in a lot of pain. This is how we found our 12-year-old boy, curled on his side crying, with his mother standing nearby in a grim, straight line. Doctors in yellow gowns and surgical masks were flitting from monitor to monitor in a dance whose direction and purpose I couldn’t fathom.

It is a romantic notion, rushing to bedsides delivering music, but the logistics are frequently confusing and uncomfortable. The doctor closest to me saw me gowning up and informed me they were about to do a procedure - I explained that we were here to deliver an iPod and would just be a minute, and he said “oh, ok.” (It is more than a little stressful feeling in the way of people who are delivering actual medicine when you are toting a ukulele or, in this case, a tiny red iPod locked up to a giant piece of plastic with a purple heart on it.) I entered the room and extended my offerings to the mother, who only spoke Spanish, with a handful of phrases I managed to piece together. She took them and nodded, gracious despite the absurdity of the situation. I smiled, and got the hell out.

Again, throwing best efforts behind a plan that we may not see come to fruition. I hope it was a comfort to him later, that the procedure went alright, that there was a moment afterwards where he could lie back and scroll to a band he liked and find some peace in that. But most of the time we don’t find out those things. Our job is to give what we have in the moment. Our job is to show up.

To Rest

The video I’m about to post is dedicated to a young life we lost last week. He always said yes to music, even on the days where he couldn’t pick up a shaker, when the most he could give us was a tiny smile. He was 3 years old.

I so loved singing to you, sweet one. Keep close to your mother, and rest your strong spirit.

Nostalgia and Feelings and Things

I noticed it first onstage when there were all these beings that I wanted to reach, and I had to draw myself out of a deeper place so that they could truly hear me - I notice it now in hospital rooms looking into people’s eyes, and alone in my apartment not caring if the neighbors hear - my voice is deepening, inhabiting and engaging more of my physical body. It feels like (in blatant resemblance to a musical artist I am in love with) a sea of bees that I am learning to project like liquid sun. I am starting to feel less afraid of the space within and outside of me that it takes. I am starting to be here with it.

It has been a nostalgic few days. Yesterday, I visited the room of a teenage girl who had a lot of visitors. I am still getting used to interacting with teenagers (something about seeing high school students makes me flashback to that time where all of them are SO much cooler than me) and all of a sudden there were, like, 5 of them staring at me, and also some parents and a 10 year old brother. She answered, “sure,” (to my surprise) when I asked if she would like some music, and said she liked showtunes. BAM all the high school Phantom-Rent-Pippin-PajamaGame-LesMiserables-Wicked circuits activated in my brain - I probably looked inappropriately excited but there was a lot happening (especially after a morning of Twinkle Twinkle and the ABC’s). I got my guitar and fumbled through a few bars of “Popular” before I remembered that songs from Wicked have too many damn chords to fake. I sheepishly said that most of what I know on guitar is from Rent, and she asked if I could play Seasons of Love. I wanted to hug her. Instead I passed out some eggshakers to the people who looked easily persuaded and started finding my way through the song. The room started singing and shaking and there were sparks in my heart.

Sometimes people tell us they are amazed by how much we give, and I just can’t help but think how many gifts I am left with at the end of the day. Being taken back to that beautiful, painfully awkward, vulnerable time in my life through a song, going there with people who were living it, was simply beyond words. Later on I got to hear a 17-year-old girl belt out some Adele in a way that I could only dream of when I was that age. It wasn’t perfect, but it was brave, and that is the only way to sing when it comes down to it. We are all just reminding each other of that when we sing together. There was a teenage boy last week who sang Radiohead while we played with him - these songs are not easy, but it is so much easier with others than to attempt it alone.

I was lying in bed tonight listening to a playlist called “Heal” and this song came up from my past - it efficiently swept out the urge to sleep and chased me into the living room where I played it through a couple times and made a video (uploading now). It will always make me think of my first love, of being 14 and discovering there were even MORE feelings, indeed ENDLESS AMOUNTS of feelings, and I always come away from it feeling that grace - that growing enough to appreciate the younger self. Feeling not by any means all put together, but certainly braver than I ever thought I would feel 9 years ago.