The writing of Honey Don’t was, quite simply, a writing exercise I gave myself: write a song with a key change. I had been listening to Chicago, You’re the Inspiration, and if you’re like me when you listen to Chicago, all you’re doing is waiting the whole song for what I call the magic chord--the one that signals that the key change is coming, and you take a deep breathe and then the down beat hits and you belt the next part as loud as you can in your car. The key heightens, and the emotion magically heightens with it. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful melodic moment. HOW DO THEY DO THAT?
I sat down and started in the key of C, which is the easiest of all the keys to start in, and worked my way up the scales. But I didn’t have any lyrical inspiration--so I was singing weird phrases, and repeating this line honey don’t. I realized that all the random phrases I could come up with were all the things my mother (and grandmothers, aunts, etc.) had ever told me. So I kept going and listed them all out. I recorded it on my computer and attempted to write a harmony part for it. But, my #brunettesestra is the harmony queen and when she came home to our then shared apartment, she wrote a whole new brilliant harmony line and there you have it. Honey Don’t was born.
The women in our mother’s family have so many one-liners, that there is one for every situation you could ever encounter. Get a flat tire and have to put new ones on a credit card? “It’s only money,” they say. Frustrated as a kid with your art project? “There’s no problem that can’t be solved”. And to solve that problem, we’d all have to “put our thinking caps on”. If your sister wore your shirt without asking, our Mom-mom would say, “You know what my father always said, ‘No sense in getting mad, you’ll just have to get glad again.’” Sometimes, they were a cuttingly sarcastic. “You’re standing around with your teeth in your mouth” was how they’d say you’re being lazy.
Some of the phrases I resented, and some of them I’ve cherished. Either way, I remember them because, darn it, they speak the truth. And they were used over and over again. And some things from our childhood just make us who we are. And this is who I am. Honey Don’t is a celebration of all those silly phrases, and of all the women who spoke them to me out of love--even when it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.