This is the first time I’ve told this part of my story. I’m sharing it to show the personal significance of raising the visibility of and strengthening the female and gender-expansive community in music.
I’m a singer, songwriter, producer, and feminist. I’ve been performing since I was 5, but didn’t start songwriting and playing guitar until my college years. I’ve toured, released albums, learned beatmaking and started teaching since.
In Dec 2020, after 3 years of working on it, I released Rabbit Hole (https://valerieorth.com/listen), my first truly co-produced album. The quality, depth, mix, and experimentation makes this album my best so far.
However, it was made under much distress, the kind many female artists deal with. For many reasons, I couldn’t get out of the situation. But the reason most relevant to the HLAG contest is that I didn't believe I could produce my music on my own.
The pandemic hit and, in a way, rescued me. I was forced to move out of my apartment and New York. My mom took me in in Maine. I couldn’t even listen to my unreleased album, and couldn’t bear the thought of releasing it. Instead, I asked my fans what songs they’d want me to cover, to soothe them in this isolating time. Someone requested PJ Harvey, and I escaped with it.
“This Mess We’re In” is the first production ever I did on my own: I arranged, produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered it in my self-made studio in my mom’s basement. Proof I can do it on my own.