Jackie McLean of the indie band Roan Yellowthorn grants us an inside look at the making of an album from start to finish in her ‘Breaking The Record’ column.
I can hardly believe it. But this is the last installment of this column. Sixty one posts later, here we are. This has been a journey I will always treasure. I can’t imagine what the past year and a half would have been like without the reassuring presence of this weekly meditation; a place to express my thoughts and feelings, a place to share and to feel connected, a hook to hang my sense of time on – dividing the blur of days that have often threatened to coalesce into one long, nearly unbroken day. This column has been a lifeline to me. I am sad to say goodbye.
Just jumping into the Breaking The Record series documenting the making of our album from start to finish? Read part 1
And I am thankful. Thankful to have had this space. This landing place. This blank canvas to write on each week. It’s been a bright spot in my day to day life. It’s been something consistent and reliable. Something that’s been mine. I almost want to collect all of these installments into a little book or something. It feels like such an archive of a moment in time.
The idea was always to end this once the album came out. That milestone has been reached. My album is out in the world, ready to be heard. And I hope that it is. Now that the process of creating and delivering is done, there is the next step – one that I will take on without sharing each part of the journey. The next step is waiting to see how it’s received. Working to make sure that it is. Watching to see what happens. Hoping that my music finds a home – many homes – in the people who embrace it. I want to see it be embraced. And yet, like a parent watching their child interact with the world, there’s only so much that I can control. I have to have faith that the work I put in will carry it forward. I have to trust in that.
It’s hard to trust. It’s hard to not be able to control what happens next – how the album is received, or whether or not it’s widely heard. There are things that I can do. But I can’t do it all. I can’t move mountains, although I try.
I thank you for coming on this journey with me. For reading these thoughts that I’ve put down into words each week. For making me feel like I am in the company of friends. Thank you.
And thank you to Mitch Mosk, the editor of this wonderful magazine, who has allowed me this space for so many weeks. Who has been so supportive and kind. And who has written a beautiful review of my album, a review that means so much to me because of its depth and care and even more because of the author’s uniquely intimate knowledge of this journey I’ve been sharing, as the first reader of each of these installments. I am so thankful.
And now the curtain closes. Goodbye, my friends. The end is here. And yet, in many ways, it is also another beginning.
Stream: ‘Another Life’ – Roan Yellowthorn
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? © Jackie McLean
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