It’s a funny story, how it all came to be.
I had been making music a little over a year – and I mean Making Music, as in, staying up all night perfecting a midi sequence; recording and re-recording the same chorus over and over; tirelessly researching The Best New Music Blogs and Labels Who Accept Demos and sending the tracks out to anyone who would listen; stalking my peers on social media – when I packed it all up and started again as Honey Gentry.
I was fairly happy making music under my “real name” (happy to be making music at all!), but I always felt like my real name was temporary, a stop-gap on a longer journey of identity. It never felt right, my Name plastered on blog headings, YouTube channels, and even boards outside gigs. So, I spent my work days dreaming up ‘stage’ names (sorry boss), trying to find something that felt a bit more right. I was writing music that felt so different to the music I had released previously. The change was under way.
Around the same time, I re-discovered an artist that I had first heard around a year earlier, the incomparable Bobbie Gentry. A Delta girl who knocked the Beatles off the number-one spot in 1967 with her Grammy award-winning ‘Ode to Billie Joe’, after a few years in the spotlight, Gentry eventually removed herself from Hollywood and Vegas entirely, and vanished into a lifetime of anonymity. I loved the idea that this mysterious lady could step in, shake things up with a country song about a suicide, then depart as quickly as she arrived. ‘Gentry’ seemed right.
I was writing these songs – for the first time ever, on guitar. I re-discovered an old Junior-sized nylon-string guitar that had been with us since childhood. I picked it up and, desperate for inspiration, started playing the one chord I could remember: A.
From that moment, and that single chord, Honeydew was born. A simple song with a line inspired by a man who told of his story stranded at sea, and how at night all he could do was stare at the vast expanse of sky (“I was in hell/looking up at heaven”). To me, that summed up how I felt (and continue to feel), that sometimes, that view of Heaven is just enough to pull you out of your current Hell. Whatever your Heaven, and whatever your Hell, I don’t doubt that it’s a universal feeling.
The songs that followed – Angel, Honey, and Baby Forever – were equally simplistic but also had this underlying tone of devotion, mixed with an ever-present desperation. The word ‘Honey’ was turning up a lot in the lyrics. Something sickly-sweet; an intimate pet name that we throw in casual conversation. It seemed to fit.
It wasn’t until Ruben arrived on the musical landscape that things really started to take shape. His innate understanding for what the music needed completely transformed the acoustic version of Heaven, California into it’s current form, a swelling, dreamy atmosphere that I couldn’t have perfected upon even if I was technically able to do so. It all culminated into the dramatic, glamorous being that is Golden Heart (for me, I could [and do] listen to the final solo over and over!), a song that I am immensely proud of and, I think, is a sign of things to come.
All of these songs were recorded at home – I record demos and send them over the Internet to Ruben and he works on them – and even in their ‘demo’ forms I am so proud of them. I feel so, honoured, to be making music that finally sounds like my dreams do. It sounds egotistical but for me, to be able to turn my dreams and manifest them in my reality is the ultimate escape.