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Behind These Walls

Okay, so I’ve completely failed at keeping this thing even semi-up to date. My bad. But it’s a new year…so I have a chance to redeem myself (expect some posts in the next couple of weeks, which will most likely taper off by March as per all of my other resolutions).

So back in early November I released my 2nd EP “Through Haze”, which has 6 tracks I’ve been recording for the past 2ish years. I was talking to my Mom about how 2 years is a TON of time for 6 songs, and I had this epiphany of why it all took so long. Unlike the rest of my life, music is the one thing for me that has never had a deadline. There was never anyone checking for milestones, expecting some type of concrete outcome at a certain due date. There was never anyone saying I needed to complete a couple of tracks, to get to the next level of my career. There was never anyone depending on my song, so that they could do a task of their own. And there was never anyone forcing me to put in the time to book recording sessions, hound producers to find ones willing to work with an unsigned artist, and email every single music outlet possible – hoping they would feature an artist who really had no type of backing or following. There was no driver in all of this, except for myself. And life easily gets in the way of everything.

I’ve previously mentioned that it’s been a hard balance to find time for my regular job, music, hobbies, and life in general. I’ve never been the best at prioritizing and I often think that may be my big regret when I look back. There are times when it gets hard to prioritize music, because there really hasn’t been any type of “pay back” compared to other parts of my life. I work, so that I get “paid back” money. I meet friends, so that I get “paid back” memories. I often forget that the big “pay back” for me with music is really my actual sanity. Music has always been my therapy, and writing has been my way of tracking and remembering my emotion during different life events.

When I first started writing “Behind These Walls”, I had just been let go from a job that I moved to NYC to do (literally I was bawling on the subway on the way home, playing this song on my headphones and writing lyrics…I looked more insane than the homeless man next to me, eating his own hair). After a big company merger, I really had no idea what was left of my career – which to me was the thing that defined me as a New Yorker. Anytime I met someone new, their first question was usually “what do you do in the city?”. Not having an answer for that left me feeling completely unsure of my identity. Yet at the same time – I was posting new music and putting pictures on social media of how happy I was. I used social media as a mask, to show that I was incredibly lucky to be living this life – despite how confused I was and how unsure I was (and still am) of what the future held. I think in life I had built up walls to hide behind – all to avoid looking weak. We continue to soldier on, even when we may be crumbling inside sometimes.

And that’s truly what we wrote the song “Behind These Walls” about. It’s by far the most personal song on the EP, and includes only cello & piano. We recorded it at The End Studio in Brooklyn, and really just sang through it a couple times to make sure the sound was as raw as possible. The rest of the album is a lot more produced. The rest of me in general, is a lot more produced. But this song is the most honest piece of my music and myself.


P.S. You can download it for free on my soundcloud as well. Big shout outs to Nick Stubblefield and Jordan Garner for the cowriting action – y’all be the wings beneath my wings forreal.

Hope everyone had a great New Year 🙂



A Note for My Early 20s

The weird thing is, I had always planned to be a writer. To write everything that I saw, everything I experienced, every move I made, feeling I felt, love I loved. I wanted to paint my story with words, so that I could look back on it – many years from now – and think…god…did I live or what?

And somehow that got put on the back-burner as I tried to push forward in other things. So here I finally am now on my 27th birthday, at a café in Soho…writing. For the very 1st time in the whirl-wind 4.5 years I’ve lived in this magnificent city, I’m finally sitting down and putting pen to paper. And I just can’t believe how much I’m in love with life at this very moment.

I’ve gone through the most ecstatic of highs and the lowest of lows, but if I could do it all again – I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change the move to NYC to “find myself” in music and find out what my real purpose was. I wouldn’t change the nights we stayed up till 6am, eating late night pizza, drinking till we forgot who we were or what we were escaping from. I wouldn’t change the constant juggle of dating, social obligations, the working harder than I thought possible, the ever-present bags under my eyes. I wouldn’t change the move to NYC for a job in Finance, the ultimate lay-off, the way I crumbled after, the search for purpose. I wouldn’t change the stays over night in studio, the many thousands of dollars spent on videos/beats/rehearsals/vocal lessons. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve gone from the girl who was afraid to raise my hand in class, the girl who struggled with anxiety, the “new girl” who moved to 4 middle schools. The girl with a speech impediment who was scared as hell to ever show my voice…to becoming the girl who performed in front of 120,000 people in Times Square.

I’ve made my share of mistakes, caused my share of disputes. Had my heart broken numerous times, broken a couple hearts here and there. Laughed till I cried, cried till I fell asleep. Learned a lot of lessons, forgotten a lot of faces. Loved not enough, moved too fast. Been proud of myself, dreaded getting out of bed to face the world. Embraced life to the fullest, broken down completely. Drank too often, partied too hard, pushed myself too much, failed too many times… but I force a smile on my face, knowing that my aspirations will always be greater than my actual talent.

As I sit here with tears forming in my eyes, Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind” playing on my headphones, I can’t help but be so thankful of how beautiful life is and thankful to all of those who’ve helped me realize this. I’ve lived. And I truly can’t wait to see what 27 will bring.

Lots of love,

Shil Continue reading