Last night the ball dropped, and I can’t help but think what amazing things have happened over the course of the last 365 days that was called “2012”. As an artist, it is easy to only focus on how much of the climb is left without taking a deep breath and looking back at all the steps you’ve already made.
There are so many daily victories that are too many to post, but here are the highlights of NNXT’s 2012 journey:
1. Recorded my first every music videos for DRNK TXTNG and Love Superhero.
2. Played for my first time ever at SXSW.
3. Got flown to New York City to play uber-dress-up and take fun pictures.
4. Opened for Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi at the Microsoft Conference at the World of Coke.
5. Released a Sample Pack of my vocal stems via The Noise Agency.
6. In one week, Big Boi retweeted me and Owl City posted a mashup of our two songs on his Facebook page. I love social media.
7. Released my first Christmas album, A Very NNXT Christmas.
8. Last but certainly not least, I beat my first-ever-in-life video game(s): Portal and Portal 2. The cake is a lie.
Cheers to the next three hundred and sixty five,
This year was… nuts.
I can honestly say 2012 was the year in my 20’s where I have grown the most. I signed my first distribution/record deal, released two music videos, performed at SXSW, and opened for Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi.Love came, love went. Friends came, friends went. There was a period where I was technically homeless. My dog fought cancer. I got diagnosed with a terrible illness that affects the rest of my life. Old wounds surfaced and stared me in the face until I dealt with them.
Through all of this, I have never been so grateful for my friends and family who have been my cheerleaders every day. Whether it was watching my dog when I was unable to, giving me hugs when there was nothing left to do but cry, or sending me funny internet images to just to make me smile- all of this has left me incredibly humbled, and most of all incredibly inspired. ”Burn a Little Brighter” is my gift for the crazy cast of characters 2012 has so graciously brought me.
"Here’s to the next three hundred and sixty-five / May there be fewer tears than there are smiles"
PS- The entire “A Very NNXT Christmas” EP will be out on December 11!
Tonight is a night I feel like writing. Atlanta is under tornado watch until 3am, and I don’t have a television- leaving me without the Falcons game that everyone else I know is watching. My left hand is in a carpal tunnel splint thanks to a unwelcome gene my mother gave me. (She’s not entirely to blame… I’ve played piano since I was 4, have knitted verociously, and am always on a computer.) Krater Bing, who now has two less toes after having a cancerous tumor removed, is asleep on my bed after chasing around cows all day on my parents’ 600-acre farm in South Georgia.
I also just gave myself an injection of 15 units of Lantus, a type of insulin.
Many of you have probably noticed that I have been a bit “off the radar” for the last few months. I released two music videos and singles fairly close to each other and then… silence. Please spare me your lecture in social media- I’m aware that silence is suicide. However, I’ve also been keeping quite a bit private and am just now comfortable telling you all what has been going on.
April 11, 2006 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I weighed almost 210 pounds and absolutely did not take care of myself. McDonald’s was my friend, beer was my even better friend, and I’m being candid enough to tell you I ate brownies for breakfast one day. My self-esteem was at an all-time low and I was in a miserable long-term relationship. I went to the doctor for a sinus infection and instead of coming out with some cough syrup, I came out with news that would change my life. Since then, I have gone through phases of taking care of myself and ignoring the disease that I knew I had. I also couldn’t obtain medical insurance to get the proper care I need (damn those pre-existing condition stipulations), leaving self-treatment to me.
You see, diabetes is a silent disease. You don’t see it, therefore it must not exist, right? There are no visible sores on your body and you don’t lose your hair. You look just like everyone else, except you are totally not.
Here’s how diabetes works (yes, I am getting educational. Deal with it.):
When you eat food, your pancreas creates insulin to regulate the amount of sugar that is in your bloodstream. This is necessary for a fully functioning, healthy body.
Type 2 diabetes means your pancreas creates insulin, but not enough. These diabetics can help out their pancreas through diet, exercise, and medication.
Type 1 diabetes means your pancreas is well, busted. No insulin. Nada. This is why Type 1 diabetics have to take insulin injections or wear an insulin pump.
Maybe it was my subconscious telling me that something wasn’t quite right or my constant need for change, but in May 2012, I went back to work during the day with the intention to finally get health insurance again. Six days after my insurance kicked in, I marched myself into the Atlanta Diabetes Associates office scared out of my mind. On top of feeling constantly fatigued and frail (leading to my lack of productivity in the music realm), I had lost an extra mysterious 20 pounds in the prior 5 months with no explanation. The doctor had a quick explanation- average blood sugar levels over time are called an A1C . Normal range is 4.5-6. Mine was 11. Anything higher would have probably landed me in the hospital in a diabetic coma but I am lucky it never got to that. He told me I had to start taking insulin immediately to lower my blood sugar levels, which is something I have feared since the day “diabetes” was introduced in my vocabulary. He also said it was temporary, and to come back in a few weeks for a follow-up visit.
This past Tuesday, September 11 (insert ironic joke here), he broke the news to me that I do indeed have Type 1 diabetes, which means I will rely on insulin the rest of my life. Four times a day, I give myself injections. Eight times a day, I prick my finger to test my levels. It is the opposite of glamorous. It is painful, emotional, and I want to scream at the top of my lungs that life isn’t fair. The only silver lining I have found is that I have been released of blaming myself for developing diabetes- what I have is genetic. But that only slightly eases the blow of what is a life-altering discovery.
I do feel extremely better since starting insulin injections, as far as my overall well-being goes, but I am still having a hard time swallowing the pill that I have a very serious disease. My chin is up- just trying to figure out the next steps.
To those of you I know and do not know in real life, thank you all for your well wishes and messages of concern. I really do appreciate it.
There will be new music soon, I promise.
Today I release my second music video (OMG). Yet another small milestone in this random journey I’m taking with music. My first video for DRNK TXTNG was quite the experience. All the extras got rowdy-drunk off the free jager we gave them, and the whole process was a whirlwind. It was awesome. As of today, the video has about 21,000 views on YouTube after being up for a little over 4 months- not record-setting, but definitely not something to scoff at. It was only a year ago when was I proud that 50 people listened to a little song I released online to my friends as NNXT. I’m proud.
My dad owns a business and my whole life I’ve been told “It’s all about numbers. It’s all about numbers.” So, naturally, I tend to judge my “success” based on numbers, which can be a very painful thing when I look at certain things such as the likes/dislikes on DRNK TXTNG. 61 Likes. 62 Dislikes.
A year ago I would have been crushed and probably internet-stalked these 62 “dislikers” to justify their bad taste in music. Now, I have realized a very liberating fact: some people just aren’t going to like my music. I’m ok with that. Does it still sting? Yes. Does it make me want to quit? No.
When I started getting “hate” on the DRNK TXTNG video, a kind friend randomly hit me up online and told me something I’ll never forget:
People who hate pop music are extremely vocal about it. You signed up for this.
It takes a warrior to foray into a genre that most people already have a bad taste in their mouth about. I’m just the lucky one who gets messages criticizing my production, too. (No, those claps at the beginning of Love Superhero are NOT too loud, thank you very much.)
So, I bid you adieu because the video should be out any minute now. If you love (or even remotely like) the video, leave a comment! If you don’t, my feelings aren’t hurt. There are millions of other independent artists you can show your support to.
Edit: The Love Superhero music video is out and you can see it HERE. <3
Q & A ::: Questions & Alcohol
Alright guys. SO many of you send me messages, emails, DMs, etc asking me questions about myself- which is like, awesome. I love it. BUT, it’s so hard for me to sit down and answer all of you personally even though I want to! To solve this problem, and to have a bit of fun with it, I’ve come up with a solution…
1. Send your questions for me to my lady love, Sarah Mincher (she runs an awesome girltastic glittery blog Sorry, Darlin and she’s quite possibly one of the funniest girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying my ears on.) Her email is SorryDarlin@gmail.com and she is eagerly awaiting the hilarity in her inbox. If you don’t want to ask questions about ME per se, ask me anything! Current events, what I think of your new haircut, the best pickup lines for girls, etc etc. :)
2. Sarah will then sift through your questions and pick out what she thinks are the best ones- they’ll be a secret to me (shh!).
3. Next week, Sarah is going to sit down with me on camera, and she’ll ask me YOUR questions written on her handy dandy flashcards.
HOWEVER- this will be after I consume 4 strong vodka-laced cocktails- maybe more if I’m feeling extra frisky.
4. We will post the video on YouTube shortly after… and I pinky promise we will keep all the good parts. <3
GO! Email SorryDarlin@gmail.com with the subject “Question for NNXT” by Monday, May 28!
Confession time: My summer single is not finished, delaying the submission to an ad agency who is already really interested in placing it after hearing the demo. If I told you the small amount of work that needs to be done to finish it, you’d laugh.
When I was at SXSW, I met a Jewish hip-hop artist by the name of Kosha Dillz.
The very first thing I noticed about him (after his strikingly good looks) was his work ethic. The second he got to the showcase, more than an hour before his set, he was on his phone texting his friends to come see him, following up with previous shows, making sure future shows were lined up, etc. I was impressed. His life seemed like a tornado, and he created the wind. He saw a parking lot full of cars and called a friend to put flyer the area. All I saw was an parking lot- he saw it as an opportunity. I thought about what I saw that night for a long time and realized- he deserves every piece of success he has. He landed a placement in a Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial. He’s been on Yo Gabba Gabba. He recorded a song with RZA last year (yeah… OMG). Did that stuff just happen because he was nonchalant about his career? No. All of those successes happened because he works his ass off.
For a long time, I had an unrealistic notion that if I were passionate about something, any effort to achieve said goal of that passion would come naturally. It would be easy. While this is relatively true, all careers based on creativity require constant effort. I am by nature a very undisciplined person, allowing distractions to take over, avoiding the nitty gritty tasks I don’t enjoy, and giving up on ideas because I immediately think they will fail.
So the moral of the story is: I am the only one responsible for my career, and have no one to blame but myself when there is no tornado present.
PS- Go download Kosha’s new EP here! It’s free and awesome. Win win.
It’s 12:16pm and I am eating homemade banana pancakes and drinking iced coffee. Take that, Monday. I am trying this new productivity routine, and so far it’s totally working. I even turned off “What Not to Wear” which is seriously one of my favorite shows. Every few months I fall into a slump of anxiety (yes, I’m human), and I lose sight of my goals, dreams, and past victories. I’m slowly coming out of it with the support of friends and re-re-re-training myself in positive ways of thinking.
Doing music “professionally” or whatever you call what I’m doing is an odd thing. This is the first time in my life where being creative isn’t an option- it’s my job. Sometimes I long for those days of just sitting in my bedroom writing songs and creating beats for hours on end. Now I have deadlines, people expecting things from me, and a sometimes uncontrollable amount of pressure I put on myself. Don’t get me wrong- I count my blessings every day. I am incredibly, incredibly grateful for the bit of success I’ve gotten since I “created” NNXT a mere 14 months ago. It’s been a wild journey and I’m aware this is just the beginning.
I guess the thing I’ve been really thinking about lately is the idea of humanity. Being human. Allowing myself to just… live. To not worry about the business side of music all the time. Sure, I could be hounding blogs, calling radio stations, booking a ton of shows, recording a new catalog of tracks. But what good is all that if I have nothing to offer people because my tank is dry? What’s so wrong with being human? When did it become a bad thing to just simply BE. This month has been a process of (finally) dealing with old wounds, coming to terms with the idea that I am not Superwoman (sucks, I know), appreciating what I have, and where I am.
This year I was blessed with a place to put a vegetable garden. So I did.
Transparency is a very scary thing. At least for me it is. The idea of admitting my shortcomings? Pffft. Yeah right. “But guys, I have a record deal! My friends have sold millions of records!” Newsflash- it doesn’t mean anything. They’re just numbers, and celebrities are all just people.
Fame is a ridiculous ambition- wanting to make a living off of your passion is not.
This month, I do have a hefty May 2012 Project list. But instead of putting my nose to the grindstone blindly, I have come out of April with a much bigger awareness of what my limits are, and what I really, really want out of life: Health, love, happiness, and friends.
(ok ok, a Grammy would be nice as well…)
Whenever I see “club promoters” in Little 5.
In the last few months, we’ve been scouring the planet to find music that needs to be heard over and over. Not an easy task, as you know. We did find a very rare gem that we’d like to introduce you. She’s a one-woman electropop powerhouse who writes, produces and records all of her music. We present to you… NNXT.
Her debut single “DRNK TXTNG” has already attracted some online buzz with its obvious internet meme appeal. What really sticks is that the song actually has more layers to it. Yes, it’s fun. We dance to it a bunch in the office. By the time she screams “I gotta couple songs out of you”, we’re rooting for NNXT to win!
The DigSin team can specifically remember when we first heard “DRNK TXTNG” and how we spent days just trying to get the song out of our heads. Needless to say, we knew we found something special. So take a listen toNNXT and we are warning you now, this song is going to be playing on repeat in your head all day long.
For more info on NNXT go to NNXTmusic.com.