Nena & Alex performing at Hay House's "I Can Do It!" Pasadena event 10/27/12 (photo by Donna Abate)

This morning feels like winter. Here on the San Diego coast, 2 blocks from the Pacific Ocean, summer seems to have been everlasting and more vibrant than ever. But this morning is cold, and in my poorly insulated beach house, I wonder at the luxury of checking emails and twitter feeds while cozy in my bed! I get a blank email from Alex as I'm reading through. In the subject line is "Where's the blog!!!?" Ah, yes, I was supposed to write this a month ago...looks like I better get at it! FOR THE SENDER has become a project that has changed me as a songwriter. Since becoming involved in it (two years ago!) I have had the privilege of working with some of the most talented and genuine people I've ever met. I've designed a book that has been published by Hay House. I wrote and released my first album!! I discovered why I continue to write and perform. And I learned what works to keep me sane and moving forward. As an independent musician, the business has forced me to be constantly self-promoting and marketing my music as a means to build an audience. As an songwriter, the music itself was always driven by my own emotions and experiences. I was never able to articulate why I continue to work so hard for this labor of love, because it never has felt like it is about ME. The likely-hood of any financial gain is slim. Fame? Never really interested in it. The inevitable draw of performing is being the music, an incredible out-of-body experience that occasionally happens while performing...and keeps me coming back. The other draw is the amazing power music has to connect us and how it comforts and helps us to not feel alone. Becoming part of FOR THE SENDER and writing songs about someone's story other than mine, made sense of connection and comfort and how it related to me personally. I write a lot of sad songs. I'm not a sad person...they are just what moves me. (I wish I had a dime for every time someone in the audience asked for happy songs or "something they can dance to") I used to feel bad that I wasn't giving people what they wanted to hear. But I've realized the power of well-written songs that people can empathize with. I consider it the greatest compliment when audience member, in tears, tells me how much they love a song...because they realize someone else has felt the way they do. Sad or uplifting, if you relate to the music in any way, it can heal, provide hope, comfort and help to lighten your emotional burdens. In turn, it also helps to lighten mine and reinforces for me that there is validity to struggling as an artist and sharing our emotions. As the year comes to a close, I'm thankful for 2012 and excited to see what the next year brings. Read my thoughts about FOR THE SENDER from last year here : Written FOR THE SENDER http://nenaanderson.blogspot.com/2011/12/written-for-sender.html