I’m not a rock star.
Rock stars walk with swagger. I knock my teeth on the mic, without fail, at EVERY show. Rock stars jet set around the globe. I babysit 7-year-olds and swipe their chocolate chip cookies when they’re not looking.
I’ll never forget the first time I admitted to the Fender Artist Relations rep that I babysat. He had a picture of Sting sitting on his desk. I was TERRIFIED.
Pretending you’re something you’re not is exhausting.
For a long time, I only posted the best reviews and sent newsletters when I had exciting updates. I did it all in the third person. That’s what Aly thought she was supposed to do.
It sucked. Cause it’s boring.
Then one day I sat down to build yet another e-mail list template and I decided: fuck it, I’m done.
Instead I wrote a letter about how I sometimes get home from tours and do nothing but eat Ben N’ Jerry’s and watch Grey’s Anatomy for a week.
Admitting that felt GOOD.
I didn’t want to be a rock star because I thought they were cool. I wanted to be a rock star because I thought they were happy. You know what makes me happy? Being myself: a living, breathing human being.
Hello, my name is Aly, and I am an expert in the art of making an ass of myself.
HUMAN MOMENT #1 - Caught in the Act.
One fine day, I forgot to wear deodorant to work.
I was sitting on the M train when I realized I’d rushed out the door without swiping on deodorant. Well, maybe. I couldn’t quite remember. So like any normal person does standing in full view of a dozen strangers, I sniffed my pit.
That’s when I spotted HIM. The elusive “Hot Guy On The Train.” The one who is always way too cool to make eye contact. Except for this. one. time. This time, he looked me straight in eye - AT THE EXACT SAME MOMENT I sniffed my armpit. Caught like a deer in damn headlights.
I turned beet-red, and then I laughed my ass off.
HUMAN MOMENT #2 - #baconawareness
I switched to the Paleo diet back in January. I’ve become a little obsessed with it since, but I know that’s annoying. ANYONE ON A DIET HIGH-HORSE IS ANNOYING. You know what isn’t, though? Bacon. Everyone loves bacon.
I was a vegetarian for four years, and then one day a friend in Seattle showed me how to cook with bacon grease and my life was forever changed.
The second or third time I posted about bacon, the thought actually crossed my mind that I shouldn’t because I might piss off my vegetarian/vegan friends.
I kept posting anyways, because I loved it and it made people laugh. Bacon photos, poems, love stories.Then the weirdest thing started happening. Other people started sending me photos of bacon. Posting their own bacon stories on my wall. MY OWN MOTHER called the day before I went home to visit to assure me that the fridge was stocked with bacon.
The other day I bumped into a songwriter-friend from London whom I have massive respect for. He was like, “Hey! I’ve been following you on Facebook.” (and I was like,YES!)….”you’re the one who’s obsessed with bacon!”
My ego was like, “WTF!”. Then I thought, well, shit, I’m being associated with something that’s indulgent, delicious, and a little bit naughty. I can live with that.
HUMAN MOMENT #3: #beunstoppable
When I was a kid I used to listen to Britney Spears on repeat and dance around my room, daydreaming that some big company would dress me up and make me into a star.
Later, when I became a musician, I always dreamed that somebody would do the marketing for me. Like some big fancy label would sweep in, deconstruct the elements of my music and put together the perfect packaging for my website.
That’s not how it works. When you’re an independent artist, you either shelve out thousands of dollars for someone to do a half-assed job, or you do it yourself.
Six months ago, I started the process of rebranding: new website, new bio, new social media presence. It is, in essence, a new way of representing myself as an artist.
Somewhere deep down the whole thing embarrasses me. It feels so egocentric. Like,Hey! Look at me! Look at my website! Give me attention!
My coach, Jo-Na, calls it “the itchy sweater.” It makes me deeply uncomfortable.
I felt like a fraud. Like REAL artists don’t spend days figuring out the right “brand words” and color schemes. REAL artists don’t care.
You know what? Real artists don’t define what makes a real artist. They accept that they’re uncomfortable, and then just fucking do it. They’re the Madonnas, the Beyonces, the Lady Gagas. They get their art into world because they have to. They don’t stop.
That’s me. Unstoppable.