Rest in Clouds is my favorite composition because I wasn’t alone in recording it.
I was working on my third album when I got the news. My great grandmother, Mamie Malou was everything to me. The day I heard she passed away was absolutely devastating.
Mamie was the kind of woman who didn’t ask for anything. Instead, she just got to work. She built an empire out of nothing. She came from nothing. Yet, the legacy she left behind and all the memories she provided my brother and I growing up will always be invaluable. She was the best.
Flying over to France to attend the funeral, I experienced something I never had before with something I did all the time. My outlet for pain has always been music. It’s always helped heal my burdens and bring me back to center. As I sat on the plane, I experienced an outpouring of emotion from her passing. I wrote all of that emotion within one composition.
When I play the piano, I often feel like I’m playing shapes. In the moment, I felt like I was drawing clouds with my hands. I remember thinking if I can just make these clouds, everyone could place their pain and sorrow from her passing inside this piece and allow the clouds to carry the weight. All the tears and pain. Carried away.
I titled the piece Rest in Clouds.
Within three days, I had the piece composed. This was the quickest I’ve ever finished a piece to this day. At first, I was shocked by how quickly the notes were coming to me. I know my music never comes from just “nowhere.” There’s always some sort of inspiration that instills within me as I place the piece together.
At this time, I didn’t know what that inspiration was.
Until I recorded the piece professionally for my third album.
I was gifted an incredible opportunity to record this album in Switzerland. After recording several pieces, I was told I could change the lighting in the recording room, making the room dark blue, purple, or whatever color I wanted. Right before realizing this, I had played Rest in Clouds. It sounded great, but I asked to do it again, knowing that I could change the bright white lighting to something more warm and intimate.
The lights got dimmed. It was just me and the piano.
As I was playing, I knew I had the mood right. I felt as if I had truly channeled the meaning of the piece. And then it happened. All of a sudden, I knew why the piece came to me so quickly. I knew why I felt an overwhelming load of emotion.
I knew I wasn’t alone.
As soon as I started playing, I sensed her presence in the room.
Everyone else on the other side of the glass had no idea what was going on. But I knew she was there. I held back tears as I played, knowing this was going to be one of the rawest, most heartfelt performances I ever got the chance to record.
It was indeed the most incredible recording moment I’ve ever had. I’ve never felt anything like it since. Every time I listen to the recording, I feel closer to her. It’s almost like I’m feeling her presence all over again.
The recording of Rest In Clouds on my third album is THE take when she was present in the room.
The recording was untouched, raw, and absolutely beautiful. I hope you were able to feel the weight of this song before knowing the story behind it. But now that you do know, I encourage you to take a moment to listen again.
Whether this is your first time hearing this piece or your hundredth time, I think you’ll feel different hearing it. That’s the power of music.
I’ve wanted to share this story for quite some time but never knew when the right time was. I’m starting to think that little voice of inspiration is guiding me more than I’m aware at times.
In the midst of a pandemic where all of our elders are most vulnerable, I want to dedicate this story to your loved ones. I can only hope that your loved ones are staying safe during this time, but if you have experienced a devastating loss, I hope this composition can bring you some peace. There’s always room for rest in the clouds. 💙
Sending love and safety your way,
The dimming of the lights in the recording studio:
My young self explaining why I wrote this piece. 💙