Jon DeRosa: A Tale of Two Coasts

By my 16th year in New York City, it had become incredibly obvious that my output was slowing down and that writing had become a very belabored process for me.

I can't say it was purely environmental, but I'm sure having lost a bit of love for the city was a contributing factor.

I had changed a lot and the city had changed a lot, but we had grown in different ways. The way you perceive yourself in a place at age 18 is much different than how you do at age 35...

The ideas I was putting to paper were increasingly stuck in certain traditional formats musically, though lyrically, I found myself writing in a very paranormal way, as if I were kind of creating a different reality than the one in which I was living. Honestly, it felt like I was grasping. My surroundings didn't feel natural or right anymore. I was more at home in these otherworldly realms where I felt I had more control than in real life.

When I arrived in LA, I had a broad album concept, a few semi-completed songs, and several song fragments. I can't say there was an instantaneous inspiration to write, but there was an instant ability to breathe deeper. And with this calmness and quiet came lightness, and with that lightness came a sense of ease that I hadn't experienced before.

I had always enjoyed spending time alone, but here I was able to be *truly* alone. I carved out certain hidden niches along wilderness trails and spent hours just being there. And for introverts (which I am at heart, though I can be very adaptable...), this time alone can be so energizing. It opened up a lot of perceived blockages and I was able to find a more natural voice in my writing. I also attribute these positive mental changes to being practicing Transcendental Meditation, which has been a very centering daily routine for me.

In the end, it's not as if all of this "light" detracted from all the darker themes, sanitizing it or scrubbing it of any conflict. On the contrary, I think it made me see things for their true nature, and again, everything started to feel more natural in both my lyrics and composition. I think now there's a lot more acceptance in my work, as opposed to trying to force things in one direction or another. It's resulted in a much more seamless and organic expression for me.

Black Halo is out now on all major digital services
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