It’s almost the end of the year, which feels crazy, because it only feels like yesterday that we were heading into 2019!
The year started for me, with my usual attempts to ignore that New Year’s Eve/Day was happening. This all stems from my irrational vendetta against New Year, due to a disappointing New Year’s experience. Way back in 2011, I had my very first New Year’s kiss. I’m not even sure if that’s a thing, but in my mind, it was, because movies had taught me that this was a magical thing you could attain. Yes, a super magical, super amazing moment when you look into the eyes of someone special, and share a mind blowing kiss that will change your whole life… except, it wasn’t. I mean, granted, I did end up going on a date with the person I kissed, we stayed together for a little while, and for better or worse (arguably worse), they did change my life, but it wasn’t magical. Not the kiss, not the relationship, nothing, and so, since then, I have been in a one sided war with New Year. I have hated it since then, and I’d like to tell you that New Year 2019 was different, but, it wasn’t. I spent most of it getting drunk, and waiting impatiently to be able to go home to bed.
The rest of January wasn’t so bad, with a wonderful trip to my beloved Blackpool, where I filmed one of my favourite videos of the year, for 27, With A White Lighter. I wasn’t actually 27 at the time, as I had originally planned to release the book along with the video, on my 27th birthday, but, sometimes, life gets a little crazy, so the book was released earlier, at the very end of 2018, with the video at least being released when it was meant to be…
My 27th Birthday was one of the more stressful ones I’ve ever had. I began my birthday signing documents for my new house, and ended up having to have a very, very early night, because I was moving in the very next day! Moving is one of my least favourite things to do, but my new house came with some awesome bonuses, such as… Marmalade!
Marmalade isn’t technically my cat, but she lives right next door, and likes to come round to hang out with me, and she is probably my favourite part of my new home, apart from finally having a local shop and decent transport links.
I also released my first music release of 2019 in February, A View From The Bridge. It’s one of my favourite tracks, and was originally planned for my second EP, Subliminals, but as I was finishing things up for the EP, it kind of felt like A View From The Bridge didn’t quite fit with the mood of the other tracks, so I decided to release it as a single. It was a deeply personal song for me. I know that artists say that all the time, about everything they release, but it genuinely was. Throughout the year, I’ve been reflecting on my past, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve known, and how they have shaped me, which will manifest in full in my upcoming project Deus Ex Machina, which I’m really excited to share with you in 2020, and I think A View From The Bridge is part of what sparked that. Writing about my first real experience with love, and how it changed my life helped me gain closure on that, and I’m glad I was able to share that with you.
In March, I was busy preparing for the release of two projects, my EP, Subliminals, and my book, Ol’ Brown Eyes Is Back. It was a really exciting, but also kind of scary time, because I spent most of the time sending things out to reviewers, and doing press for the upcoming release. It’s exciting to be able to share my work with others, but I always get worried that people will hate it, which can make it a very nerve wracking time! I was very fortunate to get some lovely reviews, which I was very grateful for.
While writing this post, I’ve been checking back through my instagram stories, to refresh my memory a little (as a typical millennial, if it happens to me, it is probably somewhere on my instagram…) and I noticed something very interesting in March. I posted a picture of a page from Brian Friel’s Translations. It’s my favourite play, and I have read it so many times I can recite parts of it by heart. The section I posted is my favourite scene, between the characters of Yolland and Maire, as they express their love for each other. I can remember the night I posted it. I was feeling pretty lonely, and honestly, wishing I could find someone like Yolland, to love, but feeling like it just wasn’t realistically going to happen. Maybe it makes me sound like a hipster, or whatever, but I felt, at the time, and in a way, still do now, that there just aren’t many people out there that I could be happy with. I know part of that is my own fault, because I am fussy, and unrealistic, but, to be fair, I only live once (apparently, although I still have my doubts), and I’ve had so many bad experiences, that it is a little hard to justify suffering through settling for something that doesn’t actually make me happy… but in the end, I think maybe I’ve found someone special, and there will be more on that later…
In April, I filmed the music video for my single White Wine, which, as some people did point out, was the first time I openly acknowledged my bisexuality in my music. I know that some people wished we lived in a world where people didn’t have to say anything, or that it wasn’t a big deal, but… well, we don’t live there quite yet. I almost didn’t release White Wine, because while I have become more comfortable with my identity as time has gone on, it was still a scary thing to think about, to be so vulnerable, and open with a part of myself that I had kept hidden for much of my formative years, out of fear, but I’m glad I did it.
May was exciting for two big reasons. First, I released Subliminals on the 10th of May. At that point, I had released several singles and an EP already, but honestly, it never gets less exciting to release new music. When I was a kid, I would write songs and dream of them being heard by someone other than myself one day, and now, getting to live that reality, and getting to share my music with others is genuinely a dream come true. I then released my poetry collection, Ol’ Brown Eyes Is Back at the end of May, and again, it never, ever gets less exciting to be able to share something I’m passionate about with people. With Ol’ Brown Eyes Is Back, I got to see another childhood dream, that I never imagined could be real, come true, when it reached Bestseller status on Amazon. I was, and still am so grateful that this happened, and that so many people blessed me with the opportunity to share my work with them.
I spent a lot of the summer touring to promote the new book and EP, as well as writing two new projects. The first, Virgin Vogue was a celebration of the LGBT community, for Pride Month, and the Anniversary of Stonewall. I wanted to create this project, to not only embrace my own identity, but also to pay tribute to the people who gave so much for me to have the rights I have as an LGBT person. I also signed to my record label, Underground Wonderland Records, in June, which led to the release of my third EP, Sleepwalking. The label was formed by some friends of mine, and I was deeply honoured when they asked if I would be their first signing, and even more honoured that they were inspired by something I wrote when naming the label. They have been so supportive of me, and have really helped me to take my career to the next level, and I can’t wait to share all the exciting things we have been working on with you next year.
In the Autumn, I got started on two projects. I began work on collecting everything together for Deus Ex Machina, which, at the time, was just supposed to be a book, and I began writing my recent Christmas song, Christmas Citalopram. I originally planned Deus Ex Machina to be a mini collection, of around eight to ten poems, with different quick looks at relationships I’d had, but it quickly expanded, and is now a book, and a collection of songs, that I will be releasing in the New Year. I also started the fourth season of my podcast Sincerely, Jennifer x, expanding with new features and segments, including UK Politics updates, and news and pop culture coverage. Having built a podcast to four seasons, from something that was essentially unscripted rambling just a few years ago, is again, something I never thought I could do, and I’m very grateful to everyone who has listened and helped me achieve that.
I was very, very excited for Halloween. Not just because it is the perfect excuse to watch horror films, but also because I was ready to share my most ambitious Halloween project with the world, In The Garden Of The Free Children. It began, as an inconvenient idea that popped into my head, about a Priest, who was running from his past. I had no further thoughts on it, but the thought of that Priest wouldn’t leave my head, and it was very inconvenient because I was at the cinema at the time, watching something completely unrelated to priests, and I was essentially having to write down as many thoughts as I could on my phone, in the dark. As time went on, I began forming more ideas, and I was able to unite some old characters I’d created, with some new ones, in the story of the Garden. I was really excited to create an immersive experience for the project, with the documentary style audio drama, and interactive website, and it was really great to read the kind feedback so many of you gave on the project.
By the time November came around, I was in the midst of preparing for the release of Deus Ex Machina, getting review packages ready, making arrangements for touring, and finishing up last minute edits, when life decided I needed a distraction. I had not been looking for a distraction. Despite the slight occasional longing for someone to care about, I had spent most of the year in love with two things and two things only, my work, and myself. I had decided somewhere along the way that I was focusing on me, myself and I in 2019, but then, again, as I said, life was like “Nah love, here’s a curveball”.
Technically, I met the distraction in question in October, but they really became a distraction in November, so… I refer, of course, to my boyfriend. Listeners of the podcast will remember the absurd levels of smug, twee happiness of which I speak about him, and I’m sorry about that, but… I mean… he is pretty rad. Now, I did mention earlier, the scene from Translations, and this does have relevancy. In one of our conversations, I mentioned the scene to him, and he asked me to describe it, and as I did, I realised, that when I was thinking about it, and imagining it in my mind, I was thinking about him. I wanted to say those things to him, and experience that rush of love and true romance, with him. It was almost as if back on that lonely night of self pity and binge reading, in March, I had began manifesting the perfect person for me, and with a little bit of patience, he finally showed up, and well, there you have it, I sort of accidentally fell in love, without meaning to, after vowing to myself that I’d be focusing entirely on my work, and now he’s stuck with me. To be fair, he started it.
And now, what next? Well, I’m ready and super excited to share the new record and book with you next year, as well as a few surprises. I am currently still boycotting New Year’s eve, but we’ll see what happens, I suppose…