Lifetimes, life ends, etc
Hi, my love. Happy Father’s Day.
Feeling very grateful for my own father, and writing you from the Blue Note dressing room between sets.
(Has it really been a whole week?!)
In any event, I’m here, back, with you. And feeling extremely the frack nostalgic.
Been thinking on lifetimes, life ends, etc.
Meghan died this week. If you didn’t know Meghan, no words I have would explain the absolute magnitude of who she was. NPR did a really solid job at it, albeit with a fun unnecessarily sexist mention of her size (male writers STAY the same people Meghan spent her lifetime thriving in spite of, but who’s counting).
So let me not mention her height and instead tell you: Meghan was a force.
A walking beam of sunlight.
A beacon in an often rough business.
The first person I saw building a world for all of us in spite of how rough that business was.
In spite, especially, of how little that business wanted to make any space for her or any of us.
Wanna know something wild? Meghan once told me that a veteran woman in the scene was so cruel to her when she arrived in New York that she spent her first 3-5 years in the city more or less blacklisted.
Meghan prevailed anyway, of course. Because she was unstoppable. She went on to build out the infrastructure for a new scene that changed music and the world.
I met her years after that woman failed to stop her. Learned it was now her mission to make sure other young women would be encouraged instead of deterred.
And boy did she live up to that. When Meghan met little baby t at Blue Note Records she pulled me under her wing and got to business. Told me she didn’t give one fuck what my title was, that she wanted to know my 1, 5 and 10 year plan. Took me seriously, talked me through business strategy, checked in, early, on my visions.
That’s who who she was. A cheerleader, a visionary, a badass.
But more than anything, Meghan was fucking fun. We laughed, danced, jazz-wooed at gigs all over Manhattan and at her legendary Revive session at Zinc Bar. And though I know there was no way for her to know just how much we all loved her besides knowing it in her own heart, I wish we could have gotten it through to her.
Man. I wish we could have gotten it through to her. Wish she could have known how much she was loved.
I hope she’s at peace now.
Hope she can feel how much we love her each time we hit the keys on this stage or sing a note.
I’ve been here this whole week singing and biting back tears thinking on it.
(How can anyone know how much they’re loved?)
(A lifelong effort for all of us.)
In any event, we’re here now, playing in Meghan’s former stomping grounds. Tonight is night 7 of a Blue Note Residency. Which feels right, if there is such a thing.
(Both right and wrong.)
A little bittersweet taste of both each night.
New York is different now. Not even anything I should be surprised at, considering the monstrously fast jaws of gentrification that were reshaping the city when we lifted off to Amsterdam almost two years ago now.
But it feels especially heavy to play to a crowd that largely has no idea what they’re even listening to, let alone who the legendary Meghan Stabile is, in light of it all. José dedicated the first two shows to her and not one person even made noise to indicate they had any idea who she was.
Meghan, who built the entire scene they’re witnessing and enjoying.
I could be angry about it. Could revert back to the person who yells and fights and angrily insists you read Sarah Schulman’s work (which you still should, btw!) (anger or not!)
But I’ve been leaning, instead, into the beauty of it all.
(What, after all, is the point of kicking all these doors down if you can’t enjoy the rooms they lead to?)
It’s so easy to stay in a fight.
Tempting, delicious, even.
But Meghan taught me better than that.
She tirelessly and fearlessly kicked these doors open so that I, nobody’s favorite jazz singer and everyone at Blue Note’s favorite assistant and only assistant, could end up a thriving record label owner singing seven nights at one of the most legendary clubs in New York City.
(A club I used to serve drinks at, by the way!)
(How’s that for a story arc!)
For seven nights I’ve walked up on that stage when my name is called.
I’ve sung songs that I wrote on a stage full of people that this business is actively not made for, thriving.
(Told everyone to tip their servers, you never know where they’ll end up)
And thanked Meghan with every action.
More next week.