The composing and researching I did in February, which focused on individuals in NYC who are affected by issues of addiction and recovery, culminated in a performance this past Monday night in Brooklyn. It was an awesome experience. We played at the Brooklyn Tea Lounge, which is a cool spot, but in retrospect, maybe not the best place for a group like Aerial Photograph. We have a lot of music that goes to the quieter side of things, which is a hard mix for a coffee shop/bar/hang out with your laptop kind of place. But it was still super cool. My good friend Sonia Szajnberg sang a few pieces with the group. Check her out if you can. She’s a really great singer who writes some really interesting music.
The suite of music I wrote in February is called “Sunlight | City”. In all honesty, this month was hard. Hard to find people willing to open up to me (a stranger) about addiction, hard to focus on substance abuse as a compositional subject for so many weeks, hard to write music that expresses these ideas in a meaningful way. But it was good. Drug and alcohol addiction is so incredibly destructive and, unfortunately, so common. I think a lot of people can relate to the stories that were told to me about this subject.
Here is one quick story –
I spoke to a woman, 44, who was a mother of 4 kids under 10 and struggles with alcoholism. Alcoholism ran in her family – her earliest memory of being drunk was before she was 10. She was 83 days sober when I spoke to her, but because of her addiction she was separated from her children and husband. She was living through it when I spoke to her – missing her kids, feelings of guilt, anger, etc. But she was on the right track and was hopeful that her sobriety would last this time. I was hopeful too – she seemed really committed to overcoming this. Especially having been separated from her family as a result of her addiction.
One thing that struck me when I spoke to her was how easy it sounded for her to go from functional drinking to alcoholism in just a few short months. It started for her by having a glass of wine each night to relax or “take the edge off” during stressful times a few years ago. Then two glasses, to three, to a glass at lunch and three at night, to two at lunch and four at night, etc. Soon it became wanting alcohol when she woke up and all throughout the day simply to stave off the horrible feelings of withdrawal. For some people, there is no middle ground, and it quickly becomes a physical addiction where your body needs to have it. I am really grateful that this woman shared her insight and experiences with me – and through the recordings and performances, will share it with more people.
I’m now immersed in the stories of immigrants in NYC. More on that to come.
As always, thanks for reading. I really appreciate it.