THERE ARE A LOT OF UPLIFTING, BELIEVE-IN-YOURSELF TYPE ANTHEMS out there. I actually find the popular ones quite cheesy (with the exception of REM’s classic Everybody Hurts), but I listen to them anyway and usually cry. All the heaps of Pink and Christiana Aguilera powerhouse beltings of beauty and perfection, they all muddle and start to feel insincere; not to say the message isn’t important, they present a similar immediacy that can a lot of people can relate to. The cynic is me thinks that pop artists have a quota of song genres to fill and this is one of them. I think it’s very easy to hone into a person’s vulnerability to sell records. Yes, I know that sounds terrible.

That being said, in an attempt to be less than 10 years behind in music, I caught up with the world and listened to some Jessie J. (initially though because that’s my sister’s name and last initial). Her contribution to this conversation is, Who You Are and I was prepared to have a listen and forget it. For whatever reason, I’ve replayed it several times, album and acoustic version. Maybe it’s the music video, the isolation and eventual onslaught of storminess in a single room. Or it could be the raw quality of her voice sans the overblown auto-tune trend. Maybe I am biased because I was watching The Voice UK  and Jessie J. is one of the judges who I have come to respect.

 

I was pleased to see she wrote the song for herself during a time when she was struggling to maintain her sense of identity in the music industry. Her lyrics feel genuine and made quite an impact on my own situation; specifically, mid-chorus she reassures the listener,

It’s okay not to be okay

This is something I want to tell myself, as well as try to represent in my work. Instead feeling like you need to be fixed, learning to accept the darkness as a way to redefine normal. How can we be given permission to be ill?

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