-a note from Val
-with Lily & Madeleine -hosting house concert
-with Margaret Glaspy & Ryan Shand, Jammber
'm cozy in my seat at 37,000 feet on a flight to LA for my first Grammys.
I'm two glasses of wine in, the sunset on the horizon is a spectacular array of red+amber, my Chicago coat snuggled around me, earbuds in my ears, enraptured by the sounds of Jesca Hoop's
"The Lost Sky"
which I've had on repeat about 20 times now -- the perfect setting to write. There's something about writing my blog from the air on an evening flight. The low-hum drone of jet engines, everyone around me cozied in as well, headphones on, reading, sleeping, working... it's peaceful up here with far less distractions; we're more grounded than on the ground.
A perfect opportunity for me to reflect and predict what my first Grammys will feel like... My husband got me tickets as a Valentines Day gift xo - it's a bucket list item for me. With ten years in the music business under my belt, I figured I'd probably never get to go. When he handed over the tickets I went numb. My mind flooded with the list of nominees, who'd be performing, the parties, the celebs who will be in that room, my fave James Cordon as MC, and most of all: my fabulous favorite newcomer band whom I've been promoting since I heard their first note and predicted they would skyrocket: The Record Company! I'd be there to see them and support them, amongst the heavy hitters in whose company they'll be: Beyonce, ADELE, Chance the Rapper, Keith Urban, to name a few.
As I floated out of my body with that scene, all of a sudden a huge wave of reality crashed back in: What the hell will I wear?
Obviously I'll be on the invisible list - which is completely fine with me - but as soon as I shared the news with friends, the peer pressure began. My angst was exacerbated by a barrage of girlfriends and sisters texting me hourly: 'what are you going to wear?????' So, first, I
'm not a fashion blogger, I'm a music blogger. But today I'm writing about fashion and music.
Ok, for those of you who know me, I'm actually obsessed with fashion. #1 Bucket List Item for me is Fashion Week NYC. Favorite designer: Ralph Lauren (simple/chic). If I wasn't in the music business I'd be in the fashion business. But I'm far from mainstream. I don't care about labels and designers - I never follow. I'd much rather hit the local consignment/resale shop and find a one-of-a-kind piece that speaks to me - throw it on, pair it with this or that, alter it to my liking, creating a signature look ... So if anyone ever asks, 'who are your wearing?' I cannot answer - and I'm damned proud of my answer. My mom says I changed my clothes 8 times a day as a little girl. The up-the-street neighbor worked in local theater and often delivered trunk fulls of dress ups for us to play with... I was obsessed. I remember throwing a hissy fit when my mom didn't let me wear a twirly navy blue shiny satin circle skirt to church - with worn off, chafing patent leather slip ons. These were the two most beautiful pieces I'd ever laid my eyes on. She was so mean! It was just me trying to express me. And I've never quit that behavior. My friends have the most gorgeous designer duds, hot handbags, killer shoes. I ogle them. But I can't remember what's in and what's out. Remember, I raised four sons. No one was noticing what I wore, or questioning my decisions. I've been a fashion free spirit. So here I go to the Grammys.
It's the Grammys - my beloved creative music industry where I feel so at home. It will not betray me even on the fashion front. It's not tradition, it's not defined, it's not the Oscars with top couture gowns. It's my beloved music industry - anything goes - and that goes for your duds. So I've been contemplating my look. I'm not a cleavage and stilettos girl. That's not the music industry. I'm a jeans, boots, skirt & tights kinda girl. Fringe, ponchos, scarves, long necklaces, bangles, flowy kinda girl. So how does that translate to fancy? I'm not sure yet.
And if finding an outfit for the Grammys isn't stressful enough, I also have a sunrise photo shoot tomorrow (on an L.A. beach) for a cool blogger campaign I've been invited to participate in (The Fierce 50 Campaign) - 50 Women Bloggers over age 50 will blog about each other on the 50th day of the year, Feb 19, to tell the world something about us...) This has trumped everything. The clothes are just one level of angst. But when you're a 59 year old in the middle of Chicago winter, that starts to translate into white, dry scaly skin and body parts (that haven't seen the gym enough bc it's oh-so-easy to hide under our turtlenecks and wool layers). And this is a photo shoot which means they're gonna take a photo of my face and I need to know poses and stuff. I didn't grow up in the facebook era and I haven't mastered the 'skinny arm' pose as my sons call it. I'm super awkward in front of the camera. I don't value it, I don't "work" it. So as I packed for this trip I had everything I own out all over my bed and room ... I first pulled every hip item I own (there are few). My multi tiered fringe boots from Austin, my skinny long skirts from my last trip to L.A., my over-the-knee boots that Mark got me a few years back (which are more in style this year than even then, thank god). Last time I went to L.A. I noticed in two minutes that it's extremely urban chic - although it's vacation time for Chicagoans it is NOT Phoenix or Naples. No bright colors. No wispy flowy tops... It's ripped jeans, tall boots, faux fur vests... edgy and cool.
So I sit on this flight with literally 100+ pounds of clothing in two suitcases for 3 days. Mark didn't say a word and I'm relieved. As a homemade fashionista you rely a LOT on your mood of the day, how your hair looks, the humidity level, and you especially rely on a day or two of quick scoping research the minute you land at the airport - to get a pulse on what people wear in this town. So I've come prepared. I'll have whatever I need for the activities & moods ahead. I've absolutely driven my friends crazy, having sent them links to cool dresses and funky pantsuits over the past few weeks, of which I've ordered none. They've all texted me repeatedly - 'which dress did you pick??' and I haven't yet. I shopped around last week - found a couple of cool funky thinks (bell bottom sleeves, bell bottom paisley pants, gauze boho dresses, designer architectural black duds that I wouldn't wear in my hometown... things that would rock the red carpet..) But I haven't found the wow yet. I don't want to look like everyone else. In a way I feel like I'm going to an imposter halloween party. Then I do a quick reality check: I belong here. I've worked 24/7 the past ten years to promote the best new emerging artists -- as a music tastemaker, I know this industry, I'm at home in this industry, my heart and mind are here. And anything goes here; I work with artists and managers and promoters and labels that are filled with non-mainstream, tatted, pierced, asymetrical, mis-matched, army booted, ripped, torn, working, exhausted duds worn by the best hearts & souls on this planet. I adore them. I align with them. I understand them. I value them. I respect them. They are self-expressive. They give us their blood sweat and tears in their tunes. They are anything but mainstream. And Sunday night at the Grammys, as a 59 year old Midwest mom, I will be anything but mainstream too.
(Grammys Sunday is today)
So the verdict is still out as to how I will adorn myself tonight. Not sure you'll see me on the red carpet or within the camera's reach. But that's not the point. The point is, I'll be there in the background, supporting the artists, the industry, and representing to the best of my ability, their magnificent art. We need it. We depend on it. We should celebrate it.
Follow me today at the Grammys...
I'll be posting regularly as a regular person.