July 1, 2014
Location:Los Angeles, CA
Kori Withers graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University‘s Tisch School of the Arts. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor
What was your mood the day you got this picture? What were you feeling about the task of creating a song from an image?
Disillusioned, frustrated, a little desperate. At my wit’s end. But, I was grateful to have the image to prompt a new song.
What was your first thought or gut reaction to seeing this picture? What thought/sound/memory/lyric came first?
I felt immediately lonely and sad. It took me a few days to accept it as my assignment, because I knew it would force me to face some pain I’d been trying
to conceal with optimism. My first thoughts were loneliness, abandonment, fatigue.
Lyrically, I just thought “Help me!” And, I thought of Jeff Buckley. That vulnerable precision of his voice and his phrasing.
Was there a specific place in the image you were drawn too?
The tall trees gave me this sensation of being trapped in a deep hole or a lost in a well. Alive, passionate, but forgotten. Being able to see the world outside, screaming for it with all your will to live, but not being heard by anyone. The
sad result of some kind of accident or misfortune.
How did you use the image to create this song? (aka. Did you pin it up in your studio? Only look at it briefly? etc)
I avoided the image for a few weeks, but it just haunted me. Once
I felt I could sit with the darkness of it for a bit, I took another look, plugged in the guitar and noodled away until the song came out.
What was your process from getting the photo to the completed song?
The song came out in one sitting. Once I got started, I felt relieved
to have a safe place to address those painful feelings. The loneliness of the image gave me a kind of privacy, a safety that was very freeing. The song just flowed out.
What does your song mean to you? Tell me the story about it’s meaning.
It reminds me of that raw vulnerability that songs allow. Ant that it’s okay to admit that you feel lost from time to time without worry that you’re being self indulgent or pessimistic or melodramatic. Even though intellectually you know you might not actually BE stranded, it’s okay to acknowledge that you FEEL that way sometimes.
Did you enjoy this project?
This is the saddest song I’ve ever written! But, I felt so relieved when it was finished. Like I’d hit rock bottom and there was nothing to fear, nowhere to go but up. It felt like an honest moment that somehow made me trust my instincts.