IMA faculty Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is a writer in many genres and loves music, so it’s no wonder that eventually she gravitated toward song, which has the distinct advantage of going quickly from inception to performance as opposed to the poetry, non-fiction and fiction Mirriam-Goldberg waits years to see in print. Now a registered songwriter with B.M.I., Mirriam-Goldberg collaborates regularly with rhythm and blues singer Kelley Hunt, who tours internationally solo and with her band, and has released five critically-acclaimed albums. Hunt and Mirriam-Goldberg’s new batch of songs is evident on Hunt’s brand new CD, just released this month, Gravity Loves You. You can see Hunt perform “These Are the Days,” one of the songs co-written with Mirriam-Goldberg, here, and you can read about Hunt’s process as well as the Brave Voice singing and writing retreats she leads with Mirriam-Goldberg here and also here.
“I love writing with Kelley, and when we start talking lyrics and music, the words and tones just start flying through us,” Mirriam-Goldberg explains. “People might think I write the words and Kelley the music, but it’s a very ecstatic and collaborative experience with both of us calling out words, singing out notes, and flying our hands — her on the purple piano in my house where we work, and me on my laptop. We simply show up, open our hearts, and see what comes to meet us.”
As for the title song of Hunt’s new CD, Mirriam-Goldberg explains that she and Hunt were in the middle of writing another song, “It Is What It Is,” when Mirriam-Goldberg began writing furiously something else that was coming to her. “I turned to Kelley and said, ‘Gravity loves you, baby,’ and then, ‘What does that mean?’” We both lit up and threw ourselves into this new song, and it came very quickly. So maybe gravity does love us, at least sometimes.”
Hunt told the Emporia Gazette something of her own process for letting loose as a writer and singer: “I grew up in an atmosphere where boundaries just didn’t matter and people were okay with the joyful aspect of musical expression, no matter what it sounded like or what style. And I was fully accepted as a wild little kid that would just leap up and start banging out something on the piano. I was never told to tone it down, shut it up, never laughed at.”