Miracles, Montreux, etc
It’s 12:45, so I only missed Sunday by 45 minutes. And hey, if you’re in the US, it’s still very much Sunday for you. So let’s just call it kosher, shall we?
In any event, hello. We start tour tomorrow. Or I guess today. We’re currently in Montreux, Switzerland. This feels like a bougie nonsense sentence that would make me roll my eyes to high heaven if I were you so if you’re doing that, please know that I get it.
And yet the facts are the facts, and I am writing to you from Montreux. It is breathtaking. I find myself wanting to say less words so I can use my eyes more. Our room has a view of the lake and it is surrounded by mountains. This was my view at dinner tonight. I took this very terrible photo, because, like you, I am a simple human with an iPhone who cannot take photos, especially of beautiful humans and landscapes.
It is calming and it is bucolic here, and two years after my last show it is an entirely different universe.
In this stressful new universe, our life of a different city every night becomes a wholly new rigamarole. José and I are now juggling 6 people’s citizenships. 6 people’s PCR tests. 6 people’s vaccination cards. We also somehow need to get up on stage and sing every night.
I’m terrified something will go wrong and one or all of us will be stranded between countries. I’m deeply aware that this is triggering inter-generational Jewish trauma for me of “wrong papers” and border issues. And I’m also so excited to actually. SING. for other vaccinated human beings tomorrow night.
It has been a year and a half since our last performance.
Will I cry? Will I be overwhelmed? Will it feel like all time and no time has passed? I have no idea, so I am living in the present, past, and future simultaneously. Trying not to fight it and just type to you live from this hotel room.
Things are good here in Montreux / the present.
As far as the past goes, before returning to Europe I put down all the vocals for the new album’s 11 songs and 2 interludes like a manic workaholic. I did it in two days at Figure 8 in Brooklyn.
I loved every minute of the session. I felt a deep clarity I haven’t felt maybe ever. I didn’t need to prove anything. I ran the schedule and invited the people I love. I finished many of the lyrics on the mic, and I watched calmly as it all fell into place.
I just. Fucking love. Being a woman in my 30s.
Janette came for a bit and took this photo of me and superstar engineer Lily Wen, because, unlike me, she is a professional genius photographer who can take photos, especially of musicians in their exact element. She shot this right as I was about to fall asleep from two straight days singing every vocal on the album tripled. It is not the greatest photo of me, and it is exactly what this session felt like.
A miracle happened this week in the studio, and it felt completely centered and commonplace.
When I was a kid, we had a very glorious very tiny Hebrew School teacher named Roberta Horowitz. She was perfect. I honestly can’t tell you if this is the truth, but I remember her having orthopedic shoes and a glorious Brooklyn accent.
Being the bad Jew that I am I remember only one actual thing Roberta told me: The most miraculous thing she ever saw in her life was the sunrise from a flight. I remember her eyes lighting up as she described looking out at that sun rising and it taking take her tiny potentially orthopedic-shoed breath away.
On the flight back from New York, I couldn’t get Roberta out of my mind. “10 years straight of touring,” I thought to myself. “10 years straight of flights, and I’ve never once seen a sunrise that took my breath away.”
Then I watched a harrowing movie about social media. Holy smokes, my friend. Have you seen this chaos? The Social Dilemma? It is very good and very painful and basically I am/maybe you are being successfully manipulated by the machine. (HELLO.)
The movie finished and there I was, sitting feeling very stomach-achey and truly manipulated by every single device I have and also so painfully aware of how addicted to social media I am.
I looked to my left and there it was. The most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen.
It took my breath away, just like little Roberta said it would. I took this very terrible photo of it, because, like you, I am a simple human with an iPhone who cannot take photos, especially out of plane windows.
A miracle happened, and it felt completely centered and commonplace.
That’s two in one week, and I feel like I’m seeing them everywhere these days. I don’t know what tomorrow night is going to look or feel like. But I do know that either way, I want to take Roberta’s sense of wonder into it. Thank you for staying with me for this past year and a half. It has been brutal. But tomorrow there are going to be 250 people who get to sing with us. And the next night there will be more.
Soon, hopefully, it’ll be you in that audience. We’ll be back together soon enough.
Till then, I love you. And will stuff my face with Swiss chocolate in your honor.
With infinite love,
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