That’s My Band. And We’re Fucking Awesome.

We played to a giant, empty room last night, where great pillars of wood swallowed up the sounds of four hands clapping.

It’s not an easy thing, this music business, but you keep on doing it–watching the crowd thin out, telling yourself you’ll play for the love of it and sing for the heart of it. But Jesus. Jesus fucking Christ, it’s hard to watch people leave the room–to close your eyes and try to get back to the feeling while your heart is screaming: “I swear I’m worth it; won’t you just give me a chance?”

We played our art songs to that empty room, my voice wailing over the balcony, trying not to think about all of the other empty rooms we’ve played; trying not to think about the years I’ve spent making this voice my own, making it what it is, making myself love and accept it and be kind to it; trying not to think about all of the people in this little town who still don’t know my name, or my band’s name, or even that I sing. Self pity isn’t a good look, but who can say they don’t succumb? I think it must be like drowning–you fight valiantly against the brimming waves, but still they take you, and you slowly sink, limbs floating, into the suffocating deep of it.

Lately, I’ve been trying not to fight things so much. But god damnit if I don’t try to fight those empty rooms with every fiber of my being, every ounce of strength in this big, fragile body. I am not strong; singing makes me strong. I am not a showman; singing makes me a showman. I don’t crave attention; singing makes me crave it.

That’s the irony of it all. I hate crowds. I think of myself as a rehearsal singer. I like the relaxed closeness of the room, sweating with no makeup on, making faces at my bandmates and jokes just for their laughter. In the rehearsal room, I am free. I take risks, I feel my body, I wail and flail and fuck up. I love the simple rush of it: five people in a tiny place, filled to the brim with commitment, making music and emotion and art from our fingers and throats. I refuse to give up that feeling.

In my life, I’ve tried to leave it behind…I’ve tried not singing. But I can’t. Singing is too deep in the fabric of me; it’s what binds the threads, woven clumsily into this conflicted person who needs art and hates attention. Singing is my abuser; she’s not good to me, but I crave and want and require her. In the night I dream of her, fingers reaching and clutching for some sort of love she’s never given me. She is the juice that flows through me, my blood and the deep ember of life that glows within me, though so often reduced to just a flicker.

I am so tired of singing to empty rooms. I am so tired of wishing and working and striving. Success is stupid and shallow; Van Gogh never had it, but his tortured, yearning mind still made so much beauty. So, I tell myself, I don’t need success. I have what I need: this voice and these people who want to help me share it. But somehow, it’s not enough. They–we–deserve more than empty rooms. We all do–all of us who live to create. So we keep going. We devise more strategies, force ourselves to beg for more, force ourselves to take the shit money and answer the questions: “Who’s Noon Fifteen?” and answer, with a smile, “That’s my band. And we’re fucking awesome.”