Press Release For "Modes of Being"
"It was 10,000 hours of fun."
Michelle is only half-kidding when she says this. She's talking about the work she put into her latest creative endeavor, a lyric book called "Modes of Being."
A compilation of the Iowa-based singer-songwriter's lyrics from her first five albums, the book traces the evolution of an artist over a period of several years -- so 10,000 hours is probably a pretty accurate estimation of the time involved here.
And as for fun: Michelle isn't, after all, one of the hardest-working musicians in the area because she doesn't love what she does. But as is the case with most serious artists, it's sometimes hard to distinguish the lines between "work" and -- well, everything else.
In any case, this project was clearly a labor of love for the young woman who began her career performing in coffeehouses up and down the Mississippi River, attracting the attention of such seasoned musicians as Clay Riness and Joe and Vicki Price; and who has developed over the past several years a solid and devoted fan base.
I suspect those fans will love "Modes of Being" -- not just because it contains the collected lyrics to Michelle's songs; but also because it is, at heart, an extended conversation -- between the artist and a host of area artists and patrons of the arts -- about music, and the creative process in general.
Interspersed among the song lyrics (which are organized chronologically, by album), are questions asked of the artist by other musicians, dancers, visual artists and people who just love music. So while the book reads on one level like an almost uber-interview (and it's a lot of fun to see what kinds of questions creative people ask one another), it is on another level a thought-provoking opportunity to pick up the conversation begun here -- and to talk about music and art, and what it means to live a creative life.
The book also is a lovely companion to Michelle's latest album, "Without an Outline" -- which she calls her "most playful album to date," and which her friend and book collaborator (he picked the art work and helped edit, organize and lay out the pages), Adam Wiltgen, says is "the most fully artistic, fleshed-out project she's done."
- By Julie Berg-Raymond