By Julia Corrie
Mike “Smoka Rocha” was an interesting character, he was like no other musician I have spoken with before. He spoke so passionately about his music, and it blew my mind when he said he has recorded at least one song every day for the past year.
He had worked with many bands before, and enjoyed the teamwork aspect of making music together. The problem with musicians, though, is that not all of them are as passionate as Mike is, and he would sometimes rather move forward on his own if that means he would be taking that chance of booking a gig or being picked up as an artist.
Mike emphasized the importance of putting yourself out there, especially as a solo musician trying to get different gigs booked or gaining a larger following. Sending people your music, reaching out and keeping up with venues, there is a lot of work that goes into it.
At the end of our interview, he played me a song he had recorded the night before, called “Black Sheep.” He said he was the black sheep of his family, so the title seemed more than fitting. His upcoming albums are sure to be successes, as he’s been working on them for so long and has put serious thought into each.
Titles like Arkham (11/25) and Ghost Town (12/30) are all about hearing the voices in your head and hearing from those that you’ve lost, and will have a variety of musical influences on each. Mike was also excited about Hold the Mike (1/1/22) and All Natural (2/14/222), which are both acoustic albums of previous music, and also holding some new tracks.
One of my favorite quotes is: “If you aren’t vulnerable there is a lot less pain, but a lot less love.”
Being vulnerable and feeling your feelings is a scary ordeal. It can be uncomfortable to sit alone with your thoughts and feel the “bad feelings.”
An underlying theme I have seen woven throughout each interview I have with musicians is the way music allows them to be vulnerable and share their feelings. It’s therapeutic, it’s freeing, and their vulnerability inspires others, like me, to not keep feelings bottled up.
Opening up in his newest album “loneliness in the presence of company,” Ethan Jewell gives an ode to a feeling we all may know too well: loneliness.
Jewell’s words are real and raw, a type of “musical poetry,” as he describes it. His vulnerability helps listeners as we listen to him navigate through a dark period. His words let us know we aren’t alone in our loneliness, which maybe means we are never really alone. In his outro, Jewell shares “after all, there’s no better company than myself.”
We’ve probably all gone through seasons of loneliness, but it’s important we are vulnerable with ourselves during these times. When we aren’t vulnerable and when we don’t allow ourselves to truly get to feel our feelings, we close ourselves off from opportunities, people, and the space for new, “good feelings” to come about.
Please be vulnerable in a world that tells you it’s cool not to care, in a world that tells you having feelings is a sign of weakness. Never be ashamed for saying how you feel, for caring for others. Protect your peace. Be conscious of who or what you put your energy towards. If people shy away from your vulnerability, know that these are not your people.
And while I’m not a musician, it’s important to find that outlet where you can be in your most vulnerable form. For me, that’s journaling. For Jewell, it’s in his songwriting.
Be vulnerable even when it’s hard and know you are never truly alone in your feelings.
It’s cool to feel your feelings and musicians like Ethan Jewell inspire us to be open and content in our “loneliness.”
By Maiya Mahoney
I attended the press conference for Holly Humberstone on Sept. 22, and she has since become one of my top favorite up and coming artists. Holly is going on tour with Girl in Red in the Spring, and I am already searching for the first opportunity to attend one of their shows.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the interview with Holly was that she was incredibly vulnerable about her music and what it means to her. Her song “Haunted House” had a different vibe after the interview, because she explained how it was about moving out of her childhood home. She cherished the memories there, and now all of the light and the joy was going to be taken out of it. Hearing her speak so passionately about the stories she tells in her songs was incredibly inspiring. I could definitely relate to this story, as I was in a similar situation when I was growing up.
By far, my favorite song of hers is “Overkill,” I feel like I listen to it every day. It’s all about putting yourself out there without the fear of coming off as too much, and what that feels like through her eyes. Not only is it a great song, I can relate to the lyrics like no other song of hers. I hope to speak with her again soon, and hopefully attend one of Holly’s shows in the spring of 2022.
By Julia Corrie