Self Care And The Creative Mind
02/22/23 08:00 AM Filed in: songwriting
Self care is something I find essential in my life. I know, that sounds cheesy and obvious, but it has really assisted in the growth of who I am, as a person and as an artist. Self care can look many ways; from a shower, watching a movie, journaling, spending time with friends, or taking a nap, self care is making intentional choices to give back to your heart and mind. And what your heart and mind will need will most likely change every day - self care is also self-awareness, and is a practice I use to listen, and be patient with myself.
Valuing self care has deepened my relationship to myself - I am able to recognize more easily how I feel, and what I could do to help me work through those feelings. They can be feelings of sadness, anxiety, and anger, or happiness, joy, and celebration. Being able to take care of myself and know I have healthy ways to cope with however I feel makes being vulnerable and open much easier. I know I’m there for myself, and I’ll be okay.
Music and songwriting is a form of self care, not only in listening or reading it, but in writing and creating as well. I typically turn to songwriting and creating music for self care when I am in a heavy space - I feel like it allows me to experience, and helps me sort out how to identify what I feel. From paying attention to what chords I use to the tone of my voice, creating music is a raw, authentic experience, and there is so much being communicated. Figuring out lyrics that feel right, or that I relate to pushes me to ask myself many questions - questions with answers that help me understand how I feel, why I feel, and what I feel. The process of creation is self care in itself.
Recently, I’ve found self care in being outside and going on adventures, sleep, makeup artistry, journaling, writing letters, and spending time with my loved ones.
What does your heart need today?
The Synesthetic Process Behind Each Song
02/15/23 08:00 AM Filed in: songwriting
As some of you may or may not know, I experience a neurological condition known as ‘Synesthesia’. In short, it is a condition in which your brain associates colors to sounds, days of the week to colors, numbers to textures, and much more. With Synesthesia, something is always linked to something else. In this post, I would like to share how Synesthesia assists me in creating music!
The process for writing a song is different each time - different songs call for different things. Some need to be journaled, some need to be written in pen, and others need to be typed; however, Synesthesia is a part of the process that is the same across the board. Inspiration can come from anywhere - a friend’s voice, a picture, a feeling, the ocean, a word… and after I have that inspiration and build a concept onto it, words, colors, shapes and textures flood my mind. Here is an example of one way I write music that really highlights Synesthesia;
Once I have maybe a line or two written for the concept, let’s say for this example it’s ‘heavily gold drapes over your eyes’ I’ll start lists of words that pull me into that world, and have similar tastes, colors, textures and sounds;
‘Heavily gold drapes over your eyes’
Once I have a building list, I’ll use the words I wrote for inspiration, and to connect and continue a story.
Another example of where Synesthesia comes into play is recording and listening in the studio. There have been many times I've tried to explain how certain instruments or vocals should sound with words like ‘the light on a lighthouse’, ‘darker’, or ‘more blue’. Thankfully, my producer, Kevin McNoldy sees the beauty in those types of connections, and works with me to get it exactly where it needs to be. While the Synesthetic process opens many doors, it can also lead to feeling overwhelmed by how big the playground really is. It can be frustrating trying to write a song that fits all of those categories of connection, and having it feel just right. I’m a perfectionist by nature, however, with the added trait of Synesthesia, if something isn’t 100% right, it feels so painfully obvious. This can make the writing process last longer, and make recording difficult at times.
Although it has its pros and cons, I would never change my Synesthetic understanding of life. I’m so happy to have been able to share this part of me with you all, and maybe help you understand more and more about this condition! Thank you for your continuing love and support.
(If you’re interested in an in-depth explanation/exploration of Synesthesia, here is a link to an MLA essay I wrote titled “Understanding Synesthesia”!)
CC&CO Dance Complex at Adrenaline 2023
02/08/23 09:00 AM Filed in: dance
Hello! In this blog post, I wanted to share a big part of my dance world that happened… This past weekend my dance studio attended Adrenaline as our first competition of the season, and the class of 2023’s last first dance competition. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the 2023 class at CC&CO Dance Complex, and I wanted to share a bit about the process of this piece.
It is tradition at CC&CO that the graduating seniors choreograph a piece dedicated to their time at the studio, and are given the opportunity to perform it. The creation of this piece was fun, surreal, and emotional, and was filled with love. I remember to begin, we sat down at a coffee shop and began to brainstorm songs that felt right. There were many suggestions, however, we landed on ‘There Will Be Time’ by Mumford & Sons - we felt it best captured all that a ‘class of’ dance is. Once we had our song, we began the choreography process. We wrote down time marks from where we needed to cut the music, which sections would be where, who has what counts, and how it would all come together. This process went by fairly quickly, as we had a clear vision of what we wanted, so after the planning, we came up with some moves. This part of the process either went by fast when we were all focused, or was trailing along when we couldn’t stop making jokes or funny suggestions. Eventually, we finished the choreography, and then we cleaned and selected costumes. Before we knew it, our last first dance competition was here. There was a lot of emotion going into this competition from a lot of different angles, however, there was also an overall feeling of love, connection, and joy. Even in the tears, we came together and supported one another. I remember waiting in the wings for our music start, and hearing our CC&CO family screaming and cheering. I couldn’t help but cry. This piece not only signifies our last first, but honors all that we have done up until our last competition season. As we performed, there were a good amount of ‘mistakes’ made, but it really did not matter - what mattered was that we were there together, dancing together. I cannot explain the joy, pride, and love I felt for the class of 2023 in that moment. We have cried together, celebrated together, supported each other, and loved each other - we really are a family.
None of this would have been possible without our CC&CO family - from parents, peers, to teachers, thank you. Thank you.
Attached is a video of ‘Class of 2023’, and I hope you enjoy watching as much as we enjoyed performing. We still have 3 competitions left, so be on the lookout for more dance related content coming out over the next couple months! Thank you all for your love and support.
Kira's 18th birthday tattoo!
02/01/23 09:00 AM Filed in: Personal
Hello everyone! Thank you for your ongoing love and support, and all of the kind words in response to my latest song, ‘The Heart of Us’!
For this blog post, I wanted to share a story from my 18th birthday….
Ever since I was 12, I knew when I turned 18 I wanted to get a tattoo of my last name, ‘Takei’ written in Japanese. It is a tattoo my father, as well as his two siblings all have, and it’s known in my family as the ‘Takei symbol’; a recognition of our heritage, and a connection to each other through respect and honor. Over the course of my life, I’ve had a very conflicting relationship with my heritage, and what I chose to identify as. Growing up, recognition of my Japanese roots were always discussed and cherished - family is a very prevalent theme in my life, and with that, my family’s history. From watching Studio Ghibli movies with my Grandparents when we were little, to hearing my Grandfather’s stories about experiencing Pearl Harbor, being Asian is something I have been taught to learn about, and take pride in. However, as I have grown up, the question of “am I Asian enough?” has clouded my mind. “Am I Asian enough to identify with the Asian race?”, “because I’m definitely white passing, is it offensive to non-white passing individuals to identify as Asian?” - these trails of thoughts lead me to a confusing space with my identity. Of course, I am mainly white and I would never claim to only be Japanese, but am I allowed to cherish this side of me? Am I Asian enough to recognize it as a part of me, even though it has always been recognized and celebrated throughout my life?
While I still don’t know the answer to some of these questions, I do know that being a quarter Japanese is a part of me I can never change, and is a part of me I would never want to change. My tattoo will live on my body forever, and serves as a reminder that regardless of societal judgment, I am a Takei, and I am a part of my beautiful Asian-American family.
And that’s the story behind my tattoo. (No, it didn’t hurt, no, I don’t regret it, and yes, I love love love it.)
Thank you all for reading this blog post, and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for more content, website updates, and more! I appreciate each and every one of you!