Reasons for leaving

I’ve recently changed my name. I’ve been asked why, and I think I have been quite defensive about the subject. So I felt it only fair to enlighten the supporters of my music and the people who are interested – if you are, then this is a late evening ramble just for you!

Music is personal. People write about different things. For me, the inspiration comes from things that have happened in my life or to those around me – I write my reactions to different situations. I write things that I don’t want to say out loud, or things that I can’t communicate in any other way. I write about relationships, friendships, family, love, hate, jealousy, fear…all these things that everyone experiences at some stage. Conversations, nightmares, night-dreams, day-dreams, future-dreams…Although some of my songs are about fictional things, made-up events or concepts, they {usually} always stem from some sort of very real experience, however vague, exaggerated or adapted that experience may be. For this reason, I’ve always regretted having my real name attached to the songs – in my opinion they are already personal enough, and therefore getting up as the real me singing about real things feels far too vulnerable and invasive, like someone is poking me with a stick until I tell them all my secrets. It’s also maybe a bit self-indulgent and actually quite bizarre, causing quite a lot of overwhelm when people show up to the ‘me-show’. I’ve always struggled with this.

My music is constantly going in different directions. I strive for change, all the time, and hate feeling stuck in one place both physically and mentally. Sometimes if the week hasn’t been eventful enough, I do something impulsive to try and make a drastic change – my best friend Morgan calls them ‘No-Possessions-Wednesdays’, and regularly checks up on me to make sure I’m not throwing all my stuff out of the window, shaving my head, or getting obsessed over a new skill I’ve decided to dedicate my life to at 5pm on a Thursday evening. Last year, I found myself pigeon-holed into this ‘singer-songwriter with a real name’ field. For some artists, having their real name is ideal and works wonderfully. Some of my favourite artists go by their real name. But it wasn’t working for me, for a long time. I felt like there was only so far I could go with ‘Kitty O’Neal’, and that people expected something from me that I didn’t really want to give anymore – and although I’m sure these expectations and anxieties were made up in my head, I had an inkling that if I changed my name things would be different. This inking turned into a buring desire very quickly, and thankfully I find my new name to be fluid, freeing, and open to changes. It’s already much easier to get up in front of a load of people now that I’m being someone made-up.

I have, and do, like most, have ‘brain struggles’. I recently read an article about creativity + mental health and it emphasised how the two can be closely linked in lots of different ways. This is very apparent for me – I have struggles that only creativity has been able to cure so far. I don’t talk about them, I brush things off and above all I hate people asking if I’m ok. The answer will always be yes. I’ve never even spoken to anyone in my family about some things, I don’t find it natural. Instead, I like to write songs, lists, pages and pages of ramble. I paint and make/do weird things that make me laugh. I’m always working on musical projects and starting something NEW and BIG whenever the nothingness creeps in. These things are what fix me. I’ve been through some dark days, like you have too. Maybe you like talking to your friend or mum or partner or therapist…maybe you exercise every day and stay away from alcohol and drugs. Maybe you drink and do loads and loads of drugs. For me, creating is the only real way I have of escaping. I am forever thankful to my little inner artist – I want to look after it so it keeps looking after me! So, I gave it a new name, because that’s what it wanted…

Besides, no-one can spell my old name anyway. (And there’s already a deceased stunt-woman and a news presenter in Sacramento, CA with the same name who are way more famous).

2 thoughts on “Reasons for leaving”

  1. Thank you for explaining your name change. I never ever usually bother to comment on artists doing things like this as it can often just be more attention seeking behaviour. But you did so in such a totally honest, intelligent, articulate and totally unpretentious way, that I felt it deserved acknowledgement as such and credit I bought your CD after your gig in Guildhall Square, and I thought listening to it what a serious person you are, which is a very good thing, and so it is good to read this and have it confirmed !

  2. Such a beautiful, heartfelt, intriguing and inspiring piece. Thank you for writing it! So many lovely lines and observations, summed up by:

    ‘I am forever thankful to my little inner artist – I want to look after it so it keeps looking after me!’

    We are all grateful to your little artist as well, and to you. Keep creating and being fully yourself!

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