It’s kind of amazing how this concept came altogether. When I was writing the album, I didn’t know that I was going to name the project Bright White Trims. In fact, as far as the album went, it didn’t seem complete until every single song was done. Until I finished “Juicebox Season,” the album didn’t seem to flow the way that I wanted it to. It felt disjointed and incoherent, choppy almost, as if the songs were all siblings and felt completely disconnected with reality when they were missing that eighth brother or sister. It seems silly, but at the time it made perfect sense.
Bright White Trims is about expression and creative freedom. During the conception of past albums, I felt a lot more limited in the way of musical creation. Whether it censoring explicit language or removing lyrics in an effort to protect its subjects from embarrassment or shame, I have always hated having to hide for the sake of others.
Music is remedial for me. I’ve always been able to disclose my most intimate and personal experiences in my musical retellings; only what sets this album apart is that I have decided to share them. To put myself completely out there, no matter the effect it may have on my audience and the five people that provided inspiration for its elite and most prevalent songs. The one thing those songs have in common is the emotional presence that I generated just by writing and singing the lyrics that came directly from my heart.
Picking the name for the album was a difficult task. On my way down to L.A. after spending Christmas in my hometown, I decided to busy myself by creating potential candidates for the title and running them by my mother for a second opinion. After several hours of going back and forth, we had narrowed it down to “Skirting Deity” and “White Trims.” As I sat there thinking about each title, I realized that the obvious choice would have to be “White Trims.”
In the beginning of the second verse on “Fillin’ in for a Goddess,” track #2 on Bright White Trims, I sing frustratingly, “she got them sandals with them bright white wings I, wear them Vans with the bright white trims, it’s not a fight to see which bitch will be when you got eyes for only, only just one seed.” I may sound like a woman scorned by a lousy crush, but what I really felt was used, rejected, and severely personally disassociated. I wasn’t being true to myself when I was trying to impress him, and as an artist, I believe I wasn’t being true to my artistry until I stopped trying to impress my audience and instead tried to be honest with them.
The evolvement from “White Trims” to “Bright White Trims” involved a spiritual teacher who intuited the name “White Trims” and felt that it didn’t sound bold enough to title the very candid and powerful body of work that I had written. She said that as an artist, I needed something catchy, something to peak passersby’s’ attention just as much as the eight songs would when they were finally heard. When I think of the title, it seems mocking almost, ironic, playful, and even sarcastic. It seemed to fit the statement I was trying to make.
At that time, I had a great name and no album cover. I felt there was nothing that could do the concept I had created justice. I wanted something that was going to be just as sharp and cunning as the title and something that would pop out at you if you saw it in the iTunes store. I needed a picture to perfectly compliment and not swallow the pride of my newly acquired album name and its eight explicit songs. It seemed to be a challenging task.
I hired the sensational photographing duo that is Brinson + Banks for the job. After browsing Tumblr for hours to find inspiration, I stumbled upon a photo that excited me. To my delight, they seemed just as exhilarated by the idea. I said I want smoke bombs on the beach, and smoke bombs on the beach they gave me.
The idea was to create a photo that had a pop of color that was both tame and eye-catching at the same time. I didn’t know what to expect but did hope that the photo would have that wow-factor and also have my white-trimmed Vans on it just to pull the whole thing together.
I didn’t get that photo. What I got was better, and seemed to encompass the concept more than I could have imagined. I had feared that the photo wouldn’t do right by my album title, but instead ended up not only perfectly accentuating Bright White Trims, but also helping the whole concept evolve into an entirely sophisticated and smart stab at the widespread ignorance that is causing this world’s inhabitants to be fearful of the freedom that is granted to you when you cut ties to your suppressive persona.
The initial photo was blue, but after a little tinkering on my part, it became a mysterious purple, a color I saw vividly when I listened to each of the eight songs. Next stop for the new album cover was a graphic design cyber lab where my go to designer, Marc, would add my logo, the title in bold white font, the parental advisory sticker, and a slick border that somehow made the title that much more ironic as it wasn’t bright or white, it was duller and seemed to add more dimension than any Instagram frame could. I felt proud when it was finally done and even more proud now that I can finally tell its story.
Bright white trimming seems to be more borderline distraction than borderline elegance. I believe it to be an illusion, something that diverts your attention from a crack in the wall, a tear in the sole, a dust particle in the photo, a stain in the dress. For the longest time, I was so focused on making my photos smaller on Instagram just so my thicker size wouldn’t stand out. It’s smart almost. When you add a little touch of unrealistic luxury, the thing you want to suppress most doesn’t stand out. In essence, it reminds me of trimming my songs to create a musical retelling loosely based on the true inspiration just so I could hide behind the words, never fully exposed. It’s just fake. It’s fake and it’s suffocating. Getting lost trying to create perfection in this very imperfect world is damaging.
On the cover, I appear to be stepping out of smoke, the border seeming to magnify the transition, as if my true persona is finally emerging from its lifelong hiding place. The photo is freeing. I will never admit to being dishonest with myself, because it’s not true, but I will admit to occasionally ignoring that honesty and conforming to society’s standards and the standards of those around me. I never blended in. I knew my place and rather than making a physical change, the restrictions of social values only forced me to retreat farther into myself and emotionally eat to soften the blow. I believe I always stood out based upon varying levels of courage I presented in the face of changing circumstances. However, I believe Bright White Trims to be my greatest stroke of courage yet and I believe it to have been building up through years of honesty being confused with harshness, independence and strength being confused with intimidation, and wavering body weight being confused with an unhealthy lifestyle.
I have learned that I don’t need a purple haze to hide who I am and that it’s perfectly okay to be content with myself without all the added distractions. I don’t need to dim my shine to make others feel more comfortable in my presence. The only way that I can truly serve the universe is by being true to myself and existing in lasting peace. Bright White Trims is brutally honest, savage, creatively free, deliciously expressive, and fully awake. It is the next best thing, and then some.



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