Written by: Sebastian Vasoff
Edited by: Julie Mann
We feel we are ugly, more often then we care to admit. However, our bodies are something to celebrate, not degrade. We are individuals, our differences are what make us valuable to the world and ourselves. Vale Abbott has played throughout Ontario, in Toronto and Barrie, with her sister and now has a solo project called Cold Tea. Vale is now opening up about struggles with body image and identity.
It is OK to be different, to be an outsider as many artists are. Vale said, “by the end of high school I could have worn a clown suit and I think people would have been OK with it. I thrived on being different by the time I was 16, and that is when my music really started changing.” As we embrace our ideality we can start to come to terms with our body image. She continues, “I guess the fear of exploring the possibilities disappears when the fear of being different does.” As you will see this exposition will show how this manifests in her art.
An EP on self identity and being different
As an adult in her early 20s, Vale reflects on her new EP (Extended Play) how, “Recent History… is really based on my own recent history. My own personal past, and how experiences in youth affect growth. The EP is kind of a glance back at a time when I felt paralyzed by expectations.” Many artists that create this high a caliber of work say, “there's always insecurity in creating things. I always have a point (or many points) when I'm writing that feel hopeless and dark.” She talked about the emotional concept of, “Half-Light, the middle track, focuses on this idea of fitting in. There was a period when I was in high school where I wore really baggy clothes. It's about hiding in your skin, and in your clothes and in the crowds. This song in particular is about teenagers (myself, and the people around me) being ‘new’ at night. New clothes, new ambitions, alcohol - thus new personalities (in a sense).” When I asked Vale to share in laymen’s terms about her technical process, she continued that, “technically, I create the same way usually. Nowadays especially—I've found the ways of working that work best for me. I start with a rough chord progression, or plucking pattern, or whatever it may be that I'm experimenting with, and write lyrics and melody simultaneously overtop.”
Being OK with you and your body
We think of others as being more talented, better looking than us, or better at fitting in. The truth is we are all our own selves; we are all the best at doing what we do in life. No one else can do exactly what you can. We are all the best looking to the people who matter, and most of all we only need to fit into our own shoes, and your friends will be there for the person you become.
Vale’s reflection on her journey
“I have always struggled with feeling insecure about my body, and about myself in general. I found rebellion against what was expected of me very exciting and comforting in my high school years. Insecurity became less important, less of a focal point when I wore odd clothes, or said weird things. Music became something very close to me, because I felt it was another way I could calm, or at least ‘talk through’ this inner conflict. My debut EP is an exploration of this small period of growth and transition, where I try to stray from the beaten path in terms of song structure and movement.”
As a photographer, I am taught how to show someone in the idealized form that our culture agrees on. The truth is that this form is a lie. The beauty in people is the personality they have and how that it is portrayed. Your art is how you chose to add to the world, not how it chooses to add to you.