Celebrate

This past Saturday Parker played his last show with the Holy Smokes for some time, as he is taking off for Australia in a few weeks. We did it big for our last time together (for now), and 40 people showed up to party with us. There were lots of feelings being felt.

It is fitting, then, that the next song I explain is Celebrate. This is the second song on our new album, Wake Up Sleepy Heaven, which you can download for free here.

I met a lot of endings at the close of 2012. After three and a half years, Parker and I graduated from TCU in December. We started our time at school together, along with his girlfriend and our honorary third member Jade, and we ended the same way. It was super special.

Two days before graduation, I finished an internship at the nonprofit foundation Lena Pope Home, which provides counseling and education for children and families in Fort Worth. The good people there taught me a lot about helping others.

In between finishing my internship and graduating, I celebrated 22 years on Earth. Yet despite the feeling of accomplishment in all of these things, I was saying goodbye to a lot of people. I was experiencing a big life change, and though people were congratulating me and asking me how exciting it felt to finish school, it was hard to part with the people and places that had meant so much to me. I had not come out of these past few years unchanged, and the celebration was mixed with the funeral of leaving things behind.

The song Celebrate is about happy and sad and conflicted and resolved and so on and so forth happening all at once. In the moments where you are asked to put a smile on, you might be on the verge of crying. In the moments where you know you are losing someone very important, sometimes you can’t help but smile at the memories shared.

One of Wake Up Sleepy Heaven’s themes is that the world isn’t black and white; neither are emotions. No one can control how a moment unfolds for you; not even you. You can only control how you move on from an ending, not how it affects you in that moment of impact.

This is a song about letting go. Appreciating what has happened, and appreciating that they are over. Mourning the end of relationships and experiences, but holding your head up when it’s time to say goodbye. Thinking you had more chances, more time, but understanding that ends beget beginnings. You don’t always get to turn the page in a story; sometimes you have to start a new one. So celebrate and be sad.

Celebrate

I said goodbye so much this year
I hope hellos are almost here
Nearer to the end of most of what I started
With nowhere to go, do you feel brokenhearted?
Do you feel farther from the truth that you knew
when you said “I love you” and it sounded like a truce?
The people that you held became feelings that you knew
You outgrew the past and couldn’t retrace the roots/routes
So your truth became lies
Your proof, alibis
You say bye but feel like you never say hi
Goodnight, go home, turn the lights on, I’m gone
If I wanna know right, I’mma have to do wrong
Right?
I find myself more found when I’m lost
I find the benefits outweighing the costs
of how much it pays to make too many mistakes
Then make it out alive, that’s more cause to celebrate

Here’s to all the good times and here’s to the bad
For all the missed chances and all the times we had
I can’t help thinking there were more to have
But if we have to let go, let’s celebrate and be sad
Let’s celebrate and be sad

Celebrate and be sad, I’m so glad that it happened
and when it fell apart I couldn’t help but be saddened
Imagine if nothing you started had to end
Would you feel any better?
I guess it all depends
Sometimes you let go and the loss is a win
Sometimes you let go and the pain sets in
I let a girl go, too hard to hold her hand
but I let her know how I felt when I had the chance
I finished school to do my grownup dance
then found myself looking back for one more glance
I guess there’s some things we don’t get to understand
I guess there’s no sense in making concrete plans
There’s a reason hourglasses tell time with sand:
It slips through our hands, we lose everything
Find peace, please, we’re all bound to leave
In the meantime, we’re bound to each living thing
We’re bound like books with no cover sleeves
‘cause a life well-written has no summary
Summer, spring, we fall through the seasons
When winter gets cold, we remember the reasons
for warm welcomes when we come back home
We never expect to go through anything alone
but found ourselves facing trials on our own
and longed for the triumph of love still unknown

Here’s to all the good times and here’s to the bad
For all the missed chances and all the times we had
I can’t help thinking there were more to have
But if we have to let go, let’s celebrate and be sad
Let’s celebrate and be sad

We Aren’t the Kids

I am part of the most legendary rap duo since Outkast and Kanye West & Jay-Z, the Holy Smokes. We just released our third album, Wake Up Sleepy Heaven. I thought it would be fun to share the lyrics and meanings behind each of the songs for the five people who listen to us (my mom, dad, sister, and the two of us in the band).

The first song on the album is entitled We Aren’t the Kids. It was a blasty blast to make. Parker, the music-maker of our duo, made what he thought was our most fun song yet. I felt forced to live up to that, so I responded in kind.

The album is called Wake Up Sleepy Heaven for a number of reasons. One of those is that I believe we are living in a generation where we are starting to question the benefit of placing Heaven in the sky while people live in hell here on Earth. Jesus told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God wouldn’t come from us pointing and saying “here it is” or “there it is” because the kingdom of God is within us. I believe that Heaven is asleep inside a lot of us, and it’s time for us to wake it up.

This song is a call to arms for the kids who dream while they’re awake. For the kids who believe that Heaven is inside them and that they can impart a piece of it to this world despite what past generations have told them. They are the kids who see hell around them, and may have experienced it themselves, so they know that Heaven must be nearby too. They know that church is something that just happens on Sunday but every time that truth is being spoken or at least searched for in a world full of lies.

The kids are revolutionaries, dreamers, and rebels, the ones who shout what they aren’t so that they can figure out who they are. They certainly don’t have the answers (“we ask the questions and embrace them all”) but they have the sense of self-worth necessary to go looking. If this is you, even a small part of you, this is dedicated to you.

We aren’t the kids who sleep to dream
We aren’t the kids who sleep to dream
We aren’t the kids who sleep to dream
Don’t sleep to dream, don’t sleep to dream

We aren’t the kids who sleep through dreams
We aren’t the kids who sleep through dreams
We aren’t the kids who sleep through dreams
Don’t sleep through dreams, don’t sleep through dreams

This is for my family and not just kin
This is for my best friends
This is for my next friends
Not every friendship is meant to last
But not every person outlives the past
But this is for the present and this is to the future
This is for the go-getters, all the ones who choose to
do it on their own ’cause they got something to prove
While the world stands still, they still choose to move
They do it for their loved ones
They do it for themselves
’cause sometimes you don’t have nobody else
and you don’t have to die to go through hell
Where the hell is heaven and its angels to help?

We aren’t the kids who sleep to dream
We aren’t the kids who sleep to dream
We aren’t the kids who sleep to dream
Don’t sleep to dream, don’t sleep to dream

We aren’t the kids who sleep through dreams
We aren’t the kids who sleep through dreams
We aren’t the kids who sleep through dreams
Don’t sleep through dreams, don’t sleep through dreams

This is for the ones who went to church
but that good news wasn’t what you heard
They told you to be good and keep your nose clean
but this is for the ones who’d rather say what they mean
What’s a pew to streets where a homeless man preach?
What’s a class in an age where our iPods teach?
We aren’t the kids who bow at your feet
Only things we follow are the tweets on our feed
But those don’t feed us so we chow/ciao leaders
No president can save us so we occupy the streets
But me? I’d rather occupy these beats
I won’t protest the progress of liars and thieves
I’ll reflect on higher things like we stop buying things
If poverty bothers us, then how we spend our green?
Is it fine for us to scream at politicians in their greed?
Waste time counting on what we don’t believe in?

Count what we’ve received and subtract what we’re given
In the end we’re not better
but better still
If we got the urge then we’ll find the will
to die standing tall and nothing short of real
’cause we aren’t the kids who go by the book
We aren’t the kids who gives lies two looks
We don’t look up at skies for answers to fall
We ask the questions and embrace them all

And I don’t look at someone else to decide who to be
I look in the mirror and I’m proud to be me
and if you were really you, then you might see
what it’s really like to dream without falling asleep