Six years of unexplained chronic pain, an unexpected conversation with a rock singer, and the uncovering of beliefs that I didn’t even know were ruling my life. 

The story behind my second album, THE WAY OUT, began my freshman year of high school with the realization that I could no longer sing or play the piano without my throat and arms hurting. So: fix my posture, try some exercises, get a vocal coach, right? 

Except none of that made any difference. Next: get the scans, run the bloodwork, have the nerve studies. All good there, too. 

Except the unrelenting pain continued—with anxiety and depression thrown in to make things even more interesting. Therapy? Check. Meditation? Check. Drugs? Check. 

While it felt as though my body was breaking down, you never would have known. I released my first album, WILD, my junior year. I began applying to college music programs. Life was moving along just like it seemed it should. 

The only thing that wasn’t moving was the chronic, constant pain. 

I began my freshman year at Berklee College of Music, terrified that my days as a musician were numbered. As it turned out, it was my days in Boston that were numbered. COVID turned the world into lockdown, and I returned home to Atlanta and online schooling for the next ten months. 

In a time of the unexpected, something else I didn’t see coming gave me a glimmer of hope. Deena Jacob, the front woman of Veridia, the opening band  for an Evanescence concert I’d recently attended, introduced me to TMS and the work of Dr. John Sarno. 

Sarno, an MD at NYU Rusk Institute For Rehabilitation, helped people with various physical issues through his theory that pain is often created by the brain and nervous system as a distraction from overwhelming emotions  deemed more “dangerous” than physical pain.  Colleague Nicole Sachs has continued his work with JournalSpeak, a methodology that helps to safely express emotions, allowing pain signals to stop firing. 

The theory appealed intuitively to me. What didn’t I want to see in my own life? What experiences and emotions weren’t safe for me to process? Why was the very thing I LIVED to do—make music—seemingly the most PAINFUL  thing I could do? I embraced JournalSpeak and a whole new way of looking at my body and mind. 

THE WAY OUT is the story of that healing journey as I discovered the truth paraphrased by writers such as Dante, Shakespeare, and Frost: the only way out is through. In life, we must all be brave enough to go through, and not around, to find lasting freedom and autonomy. We must look our true selves in the face in a way that no mirror can reflect. 

Through the insecurities explored in the heavy ballad “Sex Toy,” the soft plea for a sign in “Angels,” and the harnessing of demons in “Call Me The Devil,” I let out the dark that I didn’t feel ready to share on my first record through soundscapes inspired by the dark rock of Evanescence, In This Moment, and Halestorm. My dear friend and GRAMMY®️ contender, Cheryl B. Engelhardt, joined me on “Sacrifice,”an anthem for emotional release.

Why the record cover? I created it using the image of a forest  because we're all stumbling through our own life’s landscape of trees, rocks, and roots. The figure represents the way I felt for so many years--- trapped behind a barrier that separated me from the rest of the world. It also represents angels and the idea that they don’t always look the way I think they will. 

This record is me peeking out, beginning to take off that cloak, hoping that freedom exists. 

And so far, I'm learning that it does.