Happy New Year! 2019 - Building Structure

I am currently sitting in my childhood backyard in a tank top and yoga pants overlooking Sabino Canyon while enjoying the 65 degree, perfectly sunny weather. There’s a mix of puffy and soft streaks of white clouds scattered across the deep blue sky. The sun is on my back and I couldn’t be happier to be out of NYC right now. The past 5 years I have been trying to escape the NYC winters as much as possible. I miss the warmth and nature that fills the canyon walls here in Tucson.

Last year I was more certain than ever that I was finally growing accustomed to ice cold days and long bundled up, frigid evenings. I had an unlimited hot yoga membership that kept my body sweating through the season. I was also working full time at the tech start up where I was highly task oriented and has little room to think about how the weather was affecting me . Luckily, two of my friends decided to get married here in Tucson last year so I had the chance to come back home in both January and May.

Now - a year later and with the holiday season behind us, I’ve had plenty of time to review my year and all of the lessons I’ve learned since leaving my salaried job last April and becoming a musician full time since July of 2018. It took me two months to realize my new found freedom. I helped a friend to find sponsors for her art show and interviewed with several large advertising agencies before finally realizing that this was the break I had been waiting for. I finally had money saved and nothing else holding me back.

If 2018 was “setting the foundation” 2019 will be all about ‘Building the Structure”.

I learned a lot from 2018. Building a foundation takes time and effort to understand what you need and then even more so when implementing it. The biggest truths I already knew became even more real when I finally set out to start my own company and to fully pursue music. I started recording my 9-track solo acoustic album ‘Afterglow’ in February last year and finished recording it by May. The songs on this album are raw and unfiltered. They have been haunting me since I wrote most of them in 2014. It was a goal of mine to record the songs before I turned 30 but ironically everything changed after my birthday last September. I finally re-discovered my voice and found mentors and collaborators to work with who continue to inspire my best self, instead of the old self I was holding on to - full of anger and self-pity.

My voice and my confidence have improved drastically this last year. In my past, it has been difficult for me to imagine what I want out of life. Looking back I can see that what I was imagining was never from a truly authentic place. I was very easily swayed by my desire to help people before I knew how to help myself. It has take a ton of soul searching, grounding and being brutally honest with myself to get me where I am today. Now days when old feelings of self-doubt start to creep up on me, I feel an unwavering deep inner peace that I am on the right path and the feeling doesn’t last very long.

My vision is clear(er) - It is one of constant evolution. I often think about the mantra I adopted when I was 19, “there is hope in beauty”. I am here to give people hope through creating beautiful art. I’m slowly building out my sound with pedals and learning protools to record more of my own music. I want to tour, as I always want to tour and I want to find the time this year to put my costume design skills to work and create some amazing merch for ya’ll!

Time management is one of my favorite topics, in theory, but sometimes being your own boss is truly just difficult! I’ve struggled in my past to give myself the space I need to have a life outside of work. I recently joined the Female Music Academy by Bree Noble to help hold myself accountable to my goals and so far its been very rewarding.

So, are you ready to hear what’s in store for us this year?!

NEW MUSIC!!! All the work I put into recording and creating videos last year will be out to you very soon! My new single ‘In The Garden’ will be out February 15th followed shortly after by an experimental music video I made with the brilliant Michael Krammers. My second single “Free” will be out April 5th. I’m releasing something juicy each month so make sure to sign up for my mailing list to be first in line to hear all the deets!

At the end of the month you can catch me back at Whoops! Greenpoint on two more Sundays 1/27 and 2/3 before I head back west to play in San Diego and lastly in Oahu, HI 2/15. More show announcements to come.

SPACE GODDESS SOUNDTRACK! This past fall I was introduced to a friend of a friend from Tucson whom I’ve come to adore. Shavana Smiley and I became fast friends bonding over our love of dogs, Tucson and art. Recently we got to talking about the art film she is creating called ‘Venus of the Milky Way’. I offered her some of my iridescent acrylic LUMA costume jewelry pieces for her film. Shavana makes incredible 3D printed space themed shoes and giant paintings among other surrealist sculpture art. I am honored that she asked me to create a soundtrack for her film. You can bet I’ll be pulling inspiration from some of my favorite electronic artists like Tycho and Todd Terje!

SUMMER EURO TOUR! I will be traveling to Copenhagen at the end of June to sing at a sister’s wedding. I’m currently working on booking solo shows in Europe this summer. I will most likely visit Amsterdam to perform for Pause Fashion Hub and I’m thinking to check out Sweden or Berlin as well. I’m open to recommendations! Where do you think I should go?

HALE KAI WELLNESS RETREAT! Last but not least, I’ve been low key planning a wellness retreat in Hawaii this September. Get ready for the most rejuvenating week of your life! We are going to be parked ocean side and surrounded by nature for a week long chill fest. You can expect yoga, reiki, hiking, sun worshiping and music meditation - not to mention the farm to table menu we get to enjoy.

Write me to let me know - Which part are YOU most excited about?

Courtney McKenna