Like most kids my age during middle school and high school, Nirvana was my favorite band. I had those old school CD subscriptions and when a new album would arrive in the mail I would listen to it on repeat at full volume. Needless to say, my parents were less than happy about my submersion into the grunge rock movement. Being ten years older than my brother, I suppose I had a lot of inadvertent musical influence on him. Like most younger siblings, Orion was curious about everything I was doing and everything I was listening to, including Nirvana. I didn’t realize that he had continued to listen to the band well into adulthood until we were hanging out during preparation for what would end up being my LIVE EP and he said “I want you listen to this arrangement I did for Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
He sat at the piano and started playing it and three thoughts immediately popped into my head. 1 – This is SOOOO cool!!! 2 – Wow, Mom and Dad actually won’t hate this. I can’t believe he came up with a way to get them to like Nirvana. 3 – I want to add it to my repertoire immediately. Smells Like Teen Spirit gave me power when I was an awkward teenager who didn’t fit in, so I wanted to return to that source of power to help me have the courage to put myself out there with my LIVE EP. So I pulled out a pencil and some manuscript paper and started transcribing what he was playing. We tried it that night at our weekly residency at Winnie’s and it was a hit. I knew it had to be recorded too.
Sometimes all you need is one person. I recently read an article in Vanity Fair discussing the new version of A Star Is Born with Lady Gaga and they had a quote from her that really resonated with me. She said “There could be 100 people in the room and 99 don’t believe in you, just one—and it was him”. In this moment, Orion was that one for me. Her quote reminded me yet again to focus on what I DO have and to be grateful for it. I may not yet have that one person in a position of power to help open doors for me but I do have one incredibly talented brother who believes in me and that’s worth everything.