Climbing out of a dark place
In an “ironic” case of life imitating art, Lindsay May named her latest EP Girl With Grit just before she proved herself to be exactly that.
May’s own grit was tested when her mother and grandmother died within two days of each in 2012. This, in addition to the death of her dog a couple of months later, drove the B.C. singer/songwriter into a very dark place.
Other siblings and friends could not help her escape from it — in fact, May recalled that the situation showed her how superficial some of her friendships were. “Some people only want to go out and have fun. They’re not there for you when you need their support.”
On the other hand, May, who performs on Sunday, Feb. 9, at Fratters Speakeasy in Red Deer, admitted she wasn’t exactly in the right headspace to be a good friend to other people, either.
Realizing she needed more help than was at hand, she signed up for grief counselling and even went on anti-depressants until she could cope again.
Another thing that helped pull her out of her emotional hole was her music — particularly playing some songs from Girl With Grit. “They were a comfort. Whenever I felt cranky, I realized it was because I didn’t pick up my guitar for a few days,” said May.
The title track “is about life lessons and learning I’ve got to do it myself, in my own way,” said May. It was inspired by her experience of being bulldozed by others. “These people are trying to be helpful but have told me what to do in such a powerful way, and then gotten angry when I haven’t taken their advice.”
One of these people was her mother. May was still devastated when her mom died at age 63 of a rare form of brain cancer because, despite their differences over whether May should pursue a music career (her mom pushed her into business school), they were close.
The singer said she never felt really fulfilled until she dove into performing for a living. And, judging by her achievements, music is her true calling.
Since releasing her 2008 debut album, Bronze and Blue, May’s been a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk contest in Texas, the New Mountain Stage Songwriting Contest and the Shore 104.3 Sounds of Summer Song Search. She was also invited to open for Shari Ulrich and Valdy.
The 36-year-old grew up in Kelowna, worked for a decade in Vancouver’s corporate world, and now lives as a musician on Shuswap Lake. She doesn’t regret her business background. In fact, she thinks it’s a good idea for all artists to pick up some financial knowledge.
“My advice would be, if you want to be a songwriter, take some basic business courses, read every book on songwriting you can get a hold of — and if somebody asks you to play a show, play it. Get as much live performing experience as you can.”
She added she will sing, share stories and even crack a few jokes at Fratters with Okotoks singer Jodi Doidge.
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