"How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?" -- Nina Simone

Today I learned that I want my music (and who I am) to stand for something socially and politically. I also learned how scary this is for someone who cares a lot about what other people think of them, which is definitely me. 

I learned just how much that fear has seeped into the way I make music (and how I live my day to day life) after I experienced my first negative comment on the Sharlet Crooks facebook page. I posted a photo of myself on facebook protesting gun violence at the March for Our Lives in Portland — a cause I am very passionate about. The nasty comment made me scared, insecure and self-critical. My fear told me I should delete the post and never again use the band’s page to speak out about social issues I care about. But that option didn’t feel right to me. So instead of deleting it, I paused, and the Grateful Dead popped into my head. Jerry Garcia made the music he wanted to make because it was satisfying for him and he sure as hell didn’t care about how others perceived his artistic process. It was comforting to remind myself that all of the musicians and artists that I admire actively stood up for what they believe in and infused their beliefs into their music. 

The concept of keeping my thoughts about social and political issues — my soul — out of music is the antithesis of my artistic process. Artists I admire find ways to infuse their social and political values into the work they do and view it to be essential to their art as beautifully described by Nina Simone in the following quote: 

“An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians…I CHOOSE to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved. Young people, black and white, know this. That’s why they’re so involved in politics. We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So I don’t think you have a choice. How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist.”

Today I choose to keep creating and sharing all of who I am in my music even when it feels terrifying. 

Sincerely // Corinne