The leaves of the ginkgo don’t seem that special at first glance. Not in summer, anyway. Yes, they have that pretty fan-shape and deep-green colour, but it’s only in autumn that the ginkgo’s beauty is truly revealed.
Instead of turning brown, its leaves turn a lovely, almost golden shade of yellow. And even after they’ve fallen down, they retain that colour, remaining bright and spotless long after the other autumn leaves have faded and decayed.
The ginkgo is elegant – a tree that seems grown and cultivated specifically for our enjoyment, to be admired in gardens and parks. When I picked up this leaf, back in November 2018, I only wanted to have it as a keepsake. I pressed it between the pages of my diary and it’s still there now, parchment-like and slightly crumbling.
But the ginkgo is so much more. It is a living fossil, nearly unchanged in 200 million years. And what's even more, it is also extremely resilient. Six ginkgo trees growing between 1 and 2 kilometres from the 1945 atom bomb explosion in Hiroshima were among the few living things to survive the blast. They are still alive today, charred and battered but ultimately healthy.
I love the ginkgo tree. I love its golden leaves, not just for their beauty, but for the strength and perseverance they embody.
The ginkgo is still growing. We are still here. Still, in spite of everything.
I wrote a song about hope, long before I knew how much I needed it. On 22 January, I am sharing it with all of you. Here’s to another year, filled with lots of new music. I can't wait.
Friends. I want to be honest with you.
It’s been awhile since I've given any updates on this project. And although it’s only been half a year, it feels like a lifetime.
February 2020. It was finally happening: I was going to record my original compositions, with a group of talented musicians, in a professional studio. Four years’ worth of material, songs that had grown and developed with me as I navigated student life, my first serious relationships and adulthood.
Mentally, I hadn’t been doing so well. Finding new goals (and the motivation to pursue them) after graduating was quite a challenge, and several professional rejections had slightly shaken my faith in myself and my music. But I felt like I’d made some serious progress by making these recordings. I was moving forward. Surely, it could only be uphill from here?
It isn’t always easy to be honest and open on social media, and I’m not very fond of disclosing too much about my personal life on the internet. However, since the album we’ve recorded is all about vulnerability and peeling back the layers, I feel compelled to open up about how I’ve experienced these past few months and how it has impacted the project.
After the confusion, fear and disbelief I’d felt during those first few weeks had ebbed away, it began to dawn on me that covid-19 would be here for a long time. And when that realisation hit – that this was a matter of months, years even, rather than weeks – I found myself struggling to find even the tiniest shred of motivation and determination to work on my creative projects. Here I was, with seas of free time and nowhere to go, producing absolutely… nothing.
I know I’m far from the only creative who’s encountered this problem.
I know I’m extremely lucky with the support I’ve received from friends and family.
I know I’m extremely lucky to be in the position I am now – to be able to go back to school and continue studying, to expand my knowledge, gain new experiences and fully focus on my music, even in the middle of a freaking pandemic.
And I’ve encountered so much beauty that might have passed me by otherwise.
Still, it feels like I’m walking a tightrope. That my current mental state of relative tranquillity and contentedness is fragile, and can change and disappear any minute. It’s scary.
And so, although the album is done and has been done for a while now, I kept putting off making any concrete release plans. At first I felt too bummed out about not being able to give it the proper release I felt it deserved, and later it was the uncertainty of my plans after the summer that kept me from moving forward with the project.
But for some reason, putting the album on the shelf for another year (or more) doesn’t feel right either. The more I listen to it, the more I believe it is intrinsically linked to these crazy times and the world we live in. And perhaps if it seems relevant to me, it will also be relevant to you.
I’ve always wanted to write songs that bring comfort. Music like a warm cloak, to wrap around you on cold, dark nights. God knows we can all use some comfort and warmth these days.
I’m very happy and proud to announce that my first single 'Painting The Roses Red' will be available on all major streaming platforms on Friday 18 December.
My Christmas present to you – and myself.
And that’s just the beginning! Stay tuned, here and on all social media platforms, for more updates on the album(!) release.
Thank you for sticking with me through these weird times. We'll get there.
Much love, Suze