One of my dear friends from home is on the cusp of releasing her first self-produced album. I met Andrea through a friend and almost straight away we had a "connection", which we later admitted is rare for both of us (sensitive, creative, unsociable creatures that we both are). I had recently moved into her suburb and was thrilled to have a local friend, whom I could drop in on without warning. One of my more annoying traits, the unannounced call-around.
Andrea is tiny, blone and curly-haired, with a cheshire-cat grin and a very distinctive voice (clearly enunciated but with a very Australian drawl). She likes the colour red and almost always has at least one item of red clothing on her person. She also has a small pug called poppy on whom she dotes, with a fervency I find hard to comprehend - given poppy's ill-temper and her "only a mother could love it" squashed face and squat little body - but accept. We have seen each other through various relationships; break-ups; and reclaimed singlehoods (celebrated with a few drinks down at the Geebung). Always the red wine, with Andrea.
She used to work part-time in order to devote her spare hours to music, and just lived quite frugally (apart from the red wine). I was forever in admiration of her gentle-natured tenacity, and always very curious about her music and songs, but never got to see her perform live and was too shy to ask her to play me anything (or I felt she would be too shy to play it for me). All these years, and I had never heard Andrea sing.
Last week, I heard some clips of Miss Barnett's songs for the first time via her website. Maybe it is my current emotional state, but there was no denying that it touched my heart to hear one of my friend's true talents being poured directly into my ears from the other side of the world.
Good music, especially live, can cut straight to your bones or heart or gut. It can stop you in your tracks, put you under a spell, and at the risk of coming over all Danny-Zuco, electrify you.
I even have a sort of weird Pavlovian response where, whenever I hear an orchestra start playing live, it brings a tear to my eye. Literally. It's embarrassing.
So today I would like to raise my glass (of red, naturally) to Andrea; and my new flatmate, also a musician; and all those other unsigned musicians out there who make music because they love it, and because they are compelled to.