By DONNA BALANCIA —
Heather Reid’s new solo album Cross Words is an emotional map that takes us through her journey of new beginnings. The music is so great, we want to go with her.
Reid, who was with the alt-punk band The Murmurs has started over again in many areas of her life. Cross Words is about new beginnings, family and relationships.
“It’s a personal album, it’s about the evolution of relationships and how pain is an important part of process. how we get to define what relationships look like, even in friendships. So the album is about resilience.”
“I was going through a transition and a wide range of emotion and heartbreak,” Reid said. “So when I was writing these songs I was trying to figure things out on my own, the way I do that is through songwriting. These songs are primarily about finding love and hope and dealing with a difficult situation. The pain is sometimes a necessary step and that’s where the songs came from on this album.”
The 38-year-old Reid has a variety of musical influences, all apparent in her work. She loves the “old school” music of Carol King, Joni Mitchell and Bryan Adams but also admires younger artists Adele and Mumford and Sons.
On her own
A solo career and a single mom lifestyle — doing it on her own has been a recurring theme of late, Reid said.
“It’s a little intimidating but exciting,” she said. “in the past I’ve been able to rely on other bandmates for support or camaraderie. But now I’m on my own out there.”
“Its’ funny because it’s been a while since i’ve played solo,” Reid said. “There are little moments you forget about. It takes you out of your body. The next show I’ll remember slow down and take a deep breath.”
“Right now the most important thing I say to myself is that the homework is done,” Reid said of the work leading up to her performances. “I have a set list. I have a talk with myself, i want to have a great time and I want the audience to have a great time.”
And while she may be going the music route alone with her solo career, she is anything but solo on the home front, raising her two young boys.
“You might say ours is a modern family,” said Reid of her single motherhood, which is less atypical every day in our society. The song “Fading Away,” is a soulful expression of hope for her sons. “It’s just joyful and happy, it’s about letting things roll off your back.”
Cross Words took Reid four years to complete.
“I had my kids and there was so little time to get in the studio, but through it all the songwriting continued.”
The songwriting has been the constant, as Reid started writing music when she was 12. She said she feels lucky when she was young that she had classes in school that let her express her artistic side.
“We had music in the schools when I was growing up,” she said. “I was talking to a friend the other day and we were saying that the arts programs are practically non-existent in the schools today.”
Back in those days, Reid played keyboards and used music as a way to cope with issues typical to many young people. She took up guitar in high school and since that time she never put it down.
A lot of things have changed since then. For one thing, there’s a little thing called the Internet — and the social media.
“With social media, now you have access to all this information,” Reid said. “Now everybody has access to YouTube. I think it opens our world more but makes the market more saturated. I’m finding my way too.”
And in the end, Reid realizes, she may be alone on the stage, but she is very together with her audiences.
“Right now the most important thing is the homework is done,” Reid said. “I come to each show prepared. I have our rehearsals before the show. I have a talk with myself, I want to have a great time and I want the audience to have a really great time.”