I can’t help but feel a little excited during this time of year. I just love a beginning. And the beginning of the year is such a fun one for me, even if it’s thoroughly symbolic. Cliché as it may be, I love taking some time to think over the past year—what I’ve done, what I’ve learned. And I love to set my sights on some juicy goals for the coming months.

A few weeks ago, I posted an essay about some of the darker things I’ve thought and felt this year. If I’m not careful, I can so easily leave myself feeling those things, and forget to think about all of the lovely (if challenging) creative experiences I had in 2020…

Ready for the list? Here it comes!

I recorded, edited, and released 45 Artifice episodes (over 4.5 thousand total recorded minutes!)…which means I also had 45 conversations with incredible people who taught me brand new things. AND, each episode was released with an “ad” (full disclosure, I run them for $0.00 😉) from a small and/or sustainable business I’m so happy to support.

On February 27 (howwww was this less than a year ago?!?!) I did my first ever paid clinician job at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, and met some brilliant new friends in the process (check out BriJenna, and Annie – they are so cool).

I released my sophomore album “Masks,” and I gave it EVERYTHING I had. I am so proud of the music. And I’m also overjoyed by the collaborations and creative energy that led to the Masks Coloring Book, the Muse of the Day project, and my three incredible music videos: Panacea, Move, and As You Are. I also truly loved building the entire online experience. I poured my heart and soul into every subject line and body text, the color schemes of every page, the song diaries, the lyric videos…all of it. It was a ton of work and I loved doing all of it. I hope you loved it, too. 🖤

I took a zillion marketing courses and got WAY (so way) out of my comfort zone with cool things like…

  • Designing and sourcing merch for the first time!
  • Setting up fulfillment—something I learned I really love! It’s such a joy to package merch with cool things like custom tissue paper, stickers, handwritten notes… #dreamy
  • Reaching out to press for the first time. I sent well over 200 (yes, 200) press inquiries and was/am PSYCHED to have Masks featured in 13 publications/podcasts. You can do the math on how many “rejections” that is. 😬👍
  • Designing and formatting the physical copies of my album in GIMP (knockoff photoshop), and generally kicking my own butt with other graphic design projects throughout the year…
  • Staging, photographing and editing product photos for my gorgeous merch. This is also something that still really stresses me out (it takes me suuuuuuch a long time to get them looking good), but I feel I’m getting better/more efficient with it all the time!
  • Stretching my web-design skills to the breaking point with countless, cross-eyed, nail-biting late nights in front of the computer.
  • Doing my first livestreams. I’m still wholly terrified of these… (it’s a project to press on in 2021, for sure)
  • Making my first ever promo videos. I HATE being on camera and got so freaked out every time I made a video this year. But per usual, it gets a little easier each time!
  • Learning to build cool digital advertising campaigns on Facebook and Instagram! I still feel like I know almost nothing, but I’m WAY less scared of this than I was this time last year.
  • Oh. I learned how to build a chat bot. (laughing emoji)

I wrote a whole NEW album, started recording, and began planning a SUPER exciting release. More on this coming in a few weeks…

I did HELLA body-wrecking backyard projects with my phenomenal husband. We mulched the whole yard, painted the shed, dug three separate patios in our crushed granite “soil” (I got kind of comfy with a pickaxe), built a sweet fire pit area, and finished lots of other smaller projects, too.

I started a brand new teaching job at Utah Valley University (and I love it).

I wrote, filmed, edited, and completed an online home for over half of my original songwriting course—which I’ve been dreaming about for YEARS! There’s still so much work to do, but I’m way past the point of no return, now. And it is HAPPENING!

I got braces and gum graft surgery which SUCKS, but I’m glad I don’t have to start/do those things in 2021…

I spent a lot of time cooking, walking and cuddling my sweet Bear, and watching great shows with Andrew—all my favorite pastimes.

I started a non-profit with an amazing friend (this is sort of a spoiler because we HAVE NOT announced this project yet…but it’s coming soon and I’m SO excited about it).

And last…I recorded and edited my own audio and video for the first time EVER by myself for my little cover of St. Vincent’s Champagne Year. 🥂

A year’s worth of creative energy looks like so much (to me) all in a row, but in each moment it just feels like “the thing that’s happening today.” You know? And that’s precisely why it’s such an important exercise for me. It fills me with a profound sense of possibility about the upcoming year.

I’m looking forward to creating and learning and stretching my comfort zone further in 2021. And I’m wishing you the same sense of possibility.

Happy New Year!

Love,

EM