This tour catapulted my project to the next level and allowed me to realize the vision I had sought to achieve all year. It’s the reason we as artists are brave enough to endure the bad shows, the self-doubt, the highs and lows of joy and sadness, the ability to fail forward, the strength to stay on course knowing the vision will come to life if you just keep going. It first happened a little bit at SXSW, then a little more when Lara joined me on stage for the first time at Lightening in a Bottle and got everyone to sing “The Future is Female” in unison, and then a little more when I crowd-surfed in a sold-out audience at Roskilde Festival Denmark, and then even more when we completed night after night opening for Ani DiFranco’s Rise Up tour.
The whole tour manifested magic from the start, the way the dates lined up, the cities, the band. So much luck and prosperity followed the tour, setting me up to shut out the noise and be able to deliver my music and my message clearly on the stage each night in each city. I remember asking DJ and synth-goddess LP Giobbi back stage at Mothership Festival back in October if she was an Ani DiFranco fan…her eyes lit up. I remember asking her if she was free the second week of November…her eyes lit up…full teeth smile…I remember asking her if she knew anyone with a tour van…she had one…I remember asking her if she knew anyone in Eugene, OR since that was the only city on the tour where we didn’t have a place to stay…she said she grew up there and her whole family and childhood house is there. Lara drove the whole tour, and sold Merch and performed and tour managed. Ale Robles of Le Butcherettes, my favorite drummer discovery of the year from back at SXSW 2017, was available and down to the do the tour and brought the show to life. Bibi McGill, former guitarist and music director for Beyoncé whom I had met over the summer when we collaborated together at Wanderlust Festival in Lake Tahoe not only sat in as our guest in Portland, but flew down to LA to accompany us on stage for the final night of the tour that would also be her birthday!!!
Every night the outfits were in sync, no one got hurt or sick or ill, everyone got along inspiring the most epic conversations in the van was we drove up and then back down the Pacific Northwest, and the live show just got better and better. There was so much chemistry and magic in the group. I am so sensitive when it comes to my band – the beauty of that is that when we are all good, when I feel supported, when the group comes prepared and happy to be there, I am able to perform my best because I feel a genuine closeness with everyone one my stage. The tightness of the group was so palpable – allowing us to shine together on stage and therefore inspiring our audiences and getting them stoked for Ani. I felt so lucky to be working with such professional musicians who were so humble in their support – allowing me and Lara to go sell Merch while LP and Ale would load up and make sure nothing got left behind – it was such a team effort – it set the bar high for the types of musicians I want to work with always – talented yet ego-free and joyful – I felt so lucky.
Ani’s fans were the best – they always greeted us with kindness, enthusiasm, joy and support – every night the theaters would be full for our set which I couldn’t believe – and we sold out all of the merch and had to have more shipped to us on tour. I remember the Portland show being tough, it was the only one, and it was not only because I was so intensely tired, but also because Seattle the night before had gone so well that I expected Portland to be just as effortless.
Expectations are your biggest enemy on the road – I will always remember this and it ended up helping me so much on the India tour to follow – the best thing you can do is be as present and dialed into the moment as possible, bringing as much if not all the energy of the show entirely from within before expecting chemistry from without, and slowly, bringing the audience into your world, if they want to come, if they don’t you humbly serve with performance and joy and prowess, offering up what you have without expectation of validation or love or applause, but simply gratitude that you get to be on a stage offering what you think and believe to a group of people. After Portland, I learned that, and instead focused on having a party with the band on stage, dialing into the quality of my own drumming and singing and authenticity of purpose, expecting nothing from the audience but instead being very centered and confident in my own energy, inviting with my vibe the audience to come into Madame Gandhi world…a world that is collaborative, emotionally intelligent, a world in which we are linked and not ranked…a future that is female…<3
Nov 8-14th: Ani DiFranco Tour + video / photo / press: