For you when you can't see how beautiful you are. For you when you don't know how much you mean. For you when you can't recognize your value. For you when you need a reminder. I made this for you.
Thank you so much to TD Music and Warner for making my crazy vision such a stunning reality.
What's in a name?
So when it comes to naming a human…. Oh boy.
I have named stuff… Cars. Pets. Stuffed animals and toys. I have named songs and albums. But never have I ever named a human. The task felt daunting.
A few months ago a name popped into my head. It was sort of a strange name, but not overly strange, but still a little strange. I didn't think Mingo would ever think twice about it, so I kept it to myself.
A few days later, as Mingo and I were out walking in the setting summer sun, he quietly said, "There's been a name in my head."
"Oh"? I asked, inviting him to go on. He didn't. "What is it?" I prompted.
He hesitated. "Well… It's… River."
I stopped walking. I told him that just a few days ago I had thought the same name. We put it on our short list. My huge belly felt like it was about to burst.
My waters broke in my sleep. A furious rush of clear water. Over 12 hours later, after a complicated birth, our baby son came into this world. He was big. And strong. And the most beautiful, sweet, incredible, best thing. Ever. Soft like the night sky, pink like a sunrise. Moving and flowing and calm and deep and restless like a River.
But I still wasn't sure.
Over the next few days Mingo and I tried a few names on him, sort of the way you try different pants on. Some fit alright, some were a little too baggy, some too short.
The nurses and Doctors had started calling him baby Mingo. Every time they came in our room they asked about his name.
"Does he have a name yet?"
"We're working on it," We would say.
I needed to ask him.
I looked down and stroked his rose petal soft cheek and asked him as he rested in my arms, "Is your name Lennox (an old family name)?"
"Is your name Aubrey (Jason's grandfather's name)?"
"Is your name Jackson?"
A little frown. Way off.
"River? Is your name River?"
And there it was. A tiny smile.
"River? Are you sure?"
No response. He was passed out.
"I think his name is River," Mingo said a few days later. "I really think it is."
"I think you're right," I responded. I still wasn't totally sure in my heart. But I trust Mingo. And I trust my baby son. So we named him River.
The birth was complicated. I had to be readmitted to the hospital after going home for an infection and might need more surgery. I have never been through so much. My body aches. I am beyond tired. I can't walk. And I'm bursting with love for my new family. Through it all, River has been my salvation.
I realized that so many of my favourite songs are about Rivers. The cleansing, healing, power of them. Steadfast and moving. An escape route, a pathway to a new life.
Here is a little play list of a few of those songs. From my little River's ears to yours.
Seven months ago something in me changed. I started to feel... weird… sick. All the time. The taste of things changed. Smells changed. The way I felt changed.
I went to see my doctor. Mingo came with me just in case something was seriously wrong. I had been throwing up a lot. We weren't sure what was going on.
My doctor ordered some blood work and told me to come back the next week. We returned seven days later. Her back was to me, bent over a file folder with a sheet of paper covered in numbers when she told me I was pregnant. Mingo blinked at me and I stared back at him. Our faces matched. Eyes wide. Mouth slightly open, our breath being taken away.
I felt… Wonder. Hope. Fear. Sick.
And then trepidation. Anxiety. So sick. What about the album? It was just coming out… How could I work it? How could I tour it? How could I employ Mingo and myself while feeling so, so sick. What would we live on? What would my hard working label peeps say? What would my fans think when I wasn't out working? What would my dear A&R guy say? We had worked so hard to create this album… How could I work when I could barely stand at times. Would it all be for nothing? What was going to happen? How was the rest of my life going to change??
I wanted to be only thrilled and happy and excited to be creating a family with Mingo. I tried. And a big part of me was. But I was sick. A lot. I kept my secret, not ready to talk about it with anyone but Mingo, not wanting anyone to think I didn't care about my career. A three week promotional tour was coming up. No big deal… Right? I could pretend…
We did our best to get through the tour. Mingo watched me continuously. He helped make sure I ate enough nutritious food and took my vitamins. He tucked me into bed every night by seven. But by the end of the tour I was so exhausted. The night before we were supposed to fly home I couldn't stop being sick. I threw up 12 times through the night, every half hour, before Mingo took me to the emergency room. I fainted while waiting to be seen.
The kind nurses and doctors took me in right away, hooked me up to an IV, put me in a private room and gave me anti nausea meds. They ordered an ultra sound immediately. Tears rolled down my face and collected in my hair as I lay on my back, looking at the fuzzy picture of our little one moving arms, legs, tiny heart thumping inside me, totally oblivious to the physical pain I was going through. Relief washed over me and I realized for the first time just how much I loved that little person. I was so glad at least one of us was okay.
We had to delay our flight till I could be well enough to make it through a flight home. Mingo called the label to tell them about our situation and ask them to change our flight. I was so nervous for them to find out. But they congratulated me. They told me the timing of things would just have to change surrounding the release, but that they were behind me. We would move forward with the first single and then reassess. Still sick. Still worried. But some relief.
Mingo and I finally slept.
We flew home for a short break, which I spent in bed, and went back on the road to do press. People promised my nausea would abate. But it didn't. A constant reminder of the fact that I was no longer the only one living in my body. I did my best. We met with great radio people and did some sweet TV appearances including the ones on Marilyn Denis and Canada AM. I was grateful for every opportunity. And so, so sick.
I came home and stayed in bed for a few months.
I started to feel… a little better? I started getting up and going for walks, Mingo with me every step of the way. Then one day I got really light headed and almost passed out again. Another blood test revealed critically low iron. All the throwing up meant that I had not been absorbing my vitamins and my little 'room mate' had gotten all our iron.
A few iron transfusions later (that's where they take pure iron and pump it into your veins. I like to think I'm Iron Woman now!) and I am starting to feel slightly more human.
I have just over two more months to go, and then the real work begins. Our second single, Mirror, comes out. I hope we can work this record and give it the exposure I think it really deserves. Oh, and Mingo and I will have an extra band member who will be our bandmate forever now.
Shamefully I have to admit that I had no idea how hard creating human life is. I really didn't. I know it's different for everyone, but I just want you to know that you took effort to make. You took energy and blood and tears and sweat and iron and pain and joy to create. Every one of us did. Your life has more value than any jewel or treasured metal this earth could offer. Please don't forget that. Ever. It's really important.
Hopefully I'll be seeing you soon… In the meantime, keep playing my music. Stay connected. I have missed you for the past Seven Months.
Earlier this week I stopped by to sit down with the lovely Marilyn Denis to talk about the album and everything that's happening right now!!
It's finally happening!! Physical copies of my full length album Have A Heart will be available everywhere on April 22nd! Yes, I will ship worldwide! You can Pre-Order the CD, or Vinyl with Bonus CD now and receive the album’s first single and the title track, “Have A Heart” digitally. And as an exclusive bonus, the first 200 Pre-Orders will receive a CD booklet autographed by yours truly.
Have A Heart will be available digitally within Canada exclusively on iTunes the same day. You can see the album trailer right now to get a preview of the second single from the album, “Mirror”! Check it all out here!
“I hope people feel amazing when they listen to Have A Heart. I hope they love it. I hope they find themselves in it. Music is about connecting, and I want to connect with millions of people.” – Meaghan Smith.
Meaghan Smith was coming off her 2011 Juno Award win for Best New Artist. It was for her critically acclaimed album The Cricket’s Orchestra, which had been lauded for its honest, insightful songwriting and vintage sound. Despite all this, Meaghan wanted to take a chance. She knew that she wanted to make an entirely different album; a pop record with big choruses and ambitious production – it was the best way for her to connect with more people than she ever had in the past. This meant moving outside of her comfort zone and working with new collaborators on songwriting and production. This was not going to be easy. Meaghan’s recent attempts at working with co-writers hadn’t been productive, so she wasn’t optimistic that someone else would be able to help her capture what was in her soul and turn it into big, lush pop songs.
Even with these concerns Meaghan knew she needed to try something new. Working with her musical partner and husband Jason Mingo she spent months searching out different producers and co-writers, trying to find just the right sound for the music she heard in her head. She travelled around the world, spending time in London, Amsterdam and New York and LA. In London, she worked with Ash Howes (Ellie Goulding, One Direction) to lay the foundation for three songs that would eventually make the album, but she ultimately ended up in Toronto to write and record the album with Jason Mingo and Warner Music Canada’s head of A&R, Ron Lopata.
“I wasn’t sure about working with my husband and an A&R guy. I have all the faith in the world in them both, but you have to admit it's an unexpected team of collaborators, at least it was for me. But it just worked so well. Both Ron and Mingo get me, as co-writers and as producers,” says Meaghan. “They understand that I need to express my own deepest feelings in my lyrics. Mingo brings patience and attention to detail to the mix. He spent hours programming drums, creating vocal effects, editing tracks, laying down guitar parts and other instrumentation. Together he and Ron came up with amazing chords that I found inspiring and exciting to write on. Ron can play anything on a keyboard and is a master of hooks. He is also incredibly determined, not giving up on my ideas till we had found the exact sounds we were looking for.”
As she has in the past, Meaghan drew upon her own life experiences when writing this album, with her relationships taking centre stage. The result is Have a Heart, an album full of honest, personal songs that sound contemporary, yet retain a hint of Meaghan’s love of all things vintage.
Have a Heart maintains Meaghan’s romanticism and envelops it in a unique pop production. One standout track, “Mirror” is a powerful love song which speaks to the beauty that exists within us all, even when we can’t see it ourselves. “I wrote that song in a night. I just started thinking about all my friends who go through times when they honestly don’t know how wonderful they are. I just think everybody has those moments when they need to hear that they are amazing and inspiring.”
For many, the most noticeable change in Meaghan’s sound will be heard on the first single. “Have a Heart” hits on a classic Meaghan Smith theme with the lyric “Love can be sweet but it might fall apart, but you'll only feel the beat if you have a heart.” Of the song, Meaghan says “To me it means to be brave – to feel things. You’ll only be a part of life if you take chances. Go for that thing that you really want. It’s terrifying, but that’s how to live.”
That sentiment is something Meaghan brought into her own life when making the album. “Have a Heart is about taking a giant risk. That’s what I’m doing with this album. It’s such a drastic change. My heart beats faster every time I think about it, but that's how I know I'm alive. Forget the net. Just jump and see what happens.”
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17. Termination. This Agreement is effective until terminated. We may, at any time and for any reason, terminate your access to or use of: (a) the Site, (b) your user name and password or (c) any files or information associated with your user name and password. If we terminate your access to the Site, you will not have the right to bring claims against us, our Affiliates or our respective Artists, Representatives and Providers with respect to such termination. We and our Affiliates and our respective Artists, Representatives and Providers, shall not be liable for any termination of your access to the Site or to any such information or files, and shall not be required to make such information or files available to you after any such termination. We may take steps that we believe are appropriate to enforce or verify compliance with any part of this Agreement (including our right to cooperate with any legal process relating to your use of the Site, any Products or any third party claim that your use of the Site or Products is unlawful or infringes such third party’s rights). Sections 2, 6-8, 11-19, 21-23 and 25 shall survive any expiration or termination of this Agreement.
18. Governing Law; Dispute Resolution. You hereby agree that this Agreement (and any claim or dispute arising in connection with this Agreement or your use of the Site) is governed by and shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, U.S.A., without regard to its principles of conflicts of law, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal and state courts located in New York, New York, U.S.A., and waive any jurisdictional, venue or inconvenient forum objections thereto.
You further agree that the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods will not apply to this Agreement. You agree that any unauthorized use of the Site, the Products or any related software or materials, or any Third Party Applications, would result in irreparable injury to us, our Affiliates or our respective Artists, Representatives and Providers for which money damages would be inadequate, and in such event we, our Affiliates or our respective Artists, Representatives and Providers, as applicable, shall have the right, in addition to other remedies available at law and in equity, to immediate injunctive relief against you. Nothing contained in this section or elsewhere in this Agreement shall be construed to limit remedies or relief available pursuant to statutory or other claims that we, our Affiliates or our respective Artists, Representatives and Providers may have under separate legal authority, including, without limitation, any claim for intellectual property infringement.
19. Filtering. We hereby notify you that parental control protections are commercially available that may assist you in limiting access to material that is harmful to minors. Information identifying current providers of such protections is available at: http://kids.getnetwise.org/ and http://onguardonline.gov/. Please note that we do not endorse any of the products or services listed at these sites.
20. Information or Complaints. If you have a question or complaint regarding the Site, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
21. Ability to Enter Into This Agreement. By using the Site, you affirm that you are of legal age to enter into this Agreement or, if you are not, that you have obtained parental or guardian consent to enter into this Agreement.
22. Contact Us. If you have any questions regarding the meaning or application of this Agreement, please direct such questions to email@example.com. E-mail communications are not necessarily secure, so please do not include credit card information or other sensitive information in any e-mail to us.
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