I released my first single, Tu Bishvat, on December 9th. There was much rejoicing in my home. I wasn't an overnight success. I guess at this point I can also say confidently that I wasn't an overweek or overfortnight success either. Nevertheless, I still feel very cool about having an artist profile on Spotify like a real recording artist. We won't consider the fact that thousands of songs are uploaded to Spotify every day and that all you really need to do it is the cost of two fancy coffees and a DAW.
The song itself is lighthearted, somewhat dreamy, and simple. Listeners have compared it to Benjamin Gibbard, The Weakerthans, Sufjan Stevens, and Iron and Wine. On the surface, it's a folksome, whimsical song about singing happy birthday to trees that anybody could enjoy. However, the title comes from one of my favorite Jewish holidays and the song (although not a religious song) is an expression of Jewish whimsy, beauty, and joy.
While I love this song, it wasn't going to be my debut release. I was going to release something with more gravitas first, but this became very important to me after an experience at an open mic night at the Black Sparrow Music Parlor in Taylor Texas. The comic who went before me, who is not Jewish, had a great deal of his set dedicated to Jew jokes. Foreskins, the Holocaust, money. You don't have to imagine it because you've certainly heard it before. It wasn't novel or interesting or funny. But suddenly this song became very important for me to release into the world. In a world where Jewishness is often reduced to antisemitism, the fight against antisemitism, and the Israel/Palestine conflict, Jewish whimsy, beauty, and joy are important. In a world where Jews are encouraged to assimilate, to keep their Jewishness quiet, it's also subversive.
Tu Bishvat is out in the world. I'm releasing another single in January, but for now Tu Bishvat is my only musical statement to the world at large. For most people who listen to it, it will completely define me as an artist.
I'm really comfortable with that.