Diary of a Song: After the Storm

This is the fourth of a series of blog posts entitled “Diary of a Song“, where I share the stories behind each of the songs from my new album “Illumination“.

At the end of each post, I also include a link to buy the sheet music, and the MP3 download.

After the Storm

IMAG2434As most of you know, last night they announced the Grammy nominations.  I was really hoping to see my name on the list of 5 nominees for Pop Instrumental, but alas I did not.  I had worked very hard for the nomination for the past several months – lots of hours were spent on trying to secure this nomination, and I was told by many that I had a real shot at this.

I know that having a Grammy nomination does not define who I am, and does not mean that I am any more or less talented.  Sometimes these awards are very political as they are peer-voted.  But as I tend to always try to have the best of faith in people, I had hoped that my album would simply wow everyone and they would just have to vote for it. 🙂  Even despite the tremendous support from my fellow Recording Academy friends, it didn’t happen, and yet I have received an outpouring of love in the past 24 hours from my fans who have told me over and over that I won in their books, and that my music has inspired them and that it means a great to them.

MacDowell Concerto 2002

Despite whatever accolades you may read in my bio, you also must know that I have had my share of trials and let-downs as well.

For every award I have won, there are many more that I have been turned down for.  For whatever film licensing or commercial work I’ve gotten, I have probably submitted my music to dozens more and not gotten a licensing deal.  I have performed as soloists with symphonies, but have also had many many auditions where I flopped and was turned away.

In the midst of all of this and the news of the Grammy NON-nomination, and with a promise I made earlier this week to release more new sheet music this week, it couldn’t be a more perfect moment to release AFTER THE STORM, track #2 on my album Illumination.

I tell you this, because it is a very appropriate intro to the story behind After the Storm.

How “AFTER THE STORM” CAME ABOUT…

On very special and rare occasions, I feel propelled by pure Divine inspiration to write a particular song.  This happened with The Red Aspens, Eventide, Will’s Song, and yes, After the Storm.

Composing does not come fast for me, but when Divine inspiration happens, the music usually always flows like an outpouring of love from my fingers to the keys. I just know how the song needs to be written.

I don’t often write much about my religious beliefs, but most know that I do have them and am very close to my Savior and have a very strong belief in God.  It is a central part of my life, and my family’s life.  I owe everything to Him, especially my talents and abilities.  And for some reason, even though I am not perfect and make oh-so-many mistakes in my day to day life, God still continues to bless me and watch out for me.

Last year was not an easy year for me.

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Sometime I will tell you more about it, but for now I’ll just say it was not an easy year.  Despite that, somehow I was able to write some very great songs out of that period in my life.  It’s true, that out of hardships come some of the history’s greatest art.  Not saying that my music is part of history’s greatest art, but for ME personally, some of my best music has come out of hard times (also great times too ).

As I started composing After the Storm (which I had not named yet), I imagined myself walking on the beach with my Savior, talking to Him, and telling Him about some of the things I was struggling with.  The ocean has always been a big part of my childhood and adult life, and brings a lot of inspiration for me.  And as I wrote the song, I thought about the poem about the footprints in the sand….and how the poet talked about going through some of the darkest times in his life and feeling so alone, seeing his lonely footprints in the sand.  Later God told him that it was not his footprints but God’s footprints and that He had carried the troubled man through his hardships.

I continued to work on the song more and more…

And in the midst of this, I kept thinking about my friend Dixie.  Some of you may know her, she comments on my Facebook posts quite often and has been a long time fan of my music.  But in recent years she has also become a close friend.  She is one of the most spunky personalities I know – just very feisty, honest, a real hoot.  And she has very good taste in music, if I do say 😉

Anyway, one day, I saw a Facebook post from her where she mentioned having to go to the hospital. I was surprised, and asked her what was wrong and what had happened.  She replied and told me that she had breast cancer, and she thought that I knew.  Well, no, I did not know.  I would have had no idea either, because she was always so positive and spunky and never complained about anything.

Dixie also loves the ocean, and I also happen to know that she loved lighthouses as well.

The more I continued to work on my song, the more I knew that this song was for her.  She was in my thoughts as I finished up the song, and as I worked with my dad on choosing a photograph that would go perfectly with this song, I ended up choosing this one:

Coquille Lighthouse

My dad (Ron Southworth, who took all the photos for Illumination), took this photo at Bandon Beach in Northern Oregon, at the Coquille Lighthouse right as a storm was passing over.  I think the colors are amazing in this photo, and to me the lighthouse represents safety and hope after and through the storm.

I named my song “After the Storm” and dedicated it to Dixie. I felt so amazed by her attitude through her struggles, as she made her way through her personal storms and conquered them.

MY OWN PERSONAL STORM…and OTHERS TOO

Even though I originally started writing this song by way of inspiration through a hard time in my life, I would say the majority of the song was written with Dixie in mind.   This was was always FOR her.

Shortly after releasing my album, I also received a very long email from a young woman who told me she had been going through a very difficult time in her life over the past couple of years, but after hearing “After the Storm” and “New Life” from my album, she felt hope for the first time.  She told me that she listened to the song several times every single day and it gave her the energy and peace to make it through each day.

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I can’t tell you how much hearing something like that effects me and makes me feel so fulfilled.  I am so happy to know that I was able to help someone else through my music.

This song also helped heal me through a hard time this past August when I had surgery…but instead of writing about it, I uploaded a video of a house concert that I did in Salt Lake City in September – where I told the story to the audience and then performed it.

You can view it below.

Here is a photo from me at my CD release concert, just a few weeks after that surgery that I had.

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Also, here is a photo with Dixie, her husband, and I at the house concert in Salt Lake City.

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So, to say the least, this song has a special place in my heart.

I’ve prepared the SHEET MUSIC for release, and feel that it is just as compelling as a piano solo (without the orchestration).

THE LINK FOR THE SHEET MUSIC IS HERE:
http://jenniferthomasmusic.com/store/productdetail.php?product=177

afterthestorm

THE LINK TO BUY THE MP3 on AMAZON IS HERE:
http://www.amazon.com/Illumination/dp/B008O0NUSM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1354842895&sr=8-2&keywords=jennifer+thomas+illumination

THE LINK TO PURCHASE THE LIGHTHOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY IS HERE:
http://ronsouthworth.com/fineartgallery.htm

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