Canadian singer/songwriter Carmel Mikol is a storyteller, crafting songs with a provocative blend of truth, fiction and wit. The title track of her debut album “In My Bones” took First Place in the Folk Category of the Great American Song Contest, and is a testament to her mature, literary songwriting. Her songs have also been honoured in the International Singer/Songwriters Association Song Contest and Unisong Contest. Here’s what she had to say about the award-winning track:
“As a writer I look out at the world from somewhere behind myself. I filter my work first through my personal experience, then through what I observe in others. I’m most interested in how people suffer – how we live through loss, fear and uninvited change. In My Bones, the title track of the album I released last year, discusses the negotiation between love and loss, two elements that seem to constantly accompany one another, tugging at us in opposing directions.
I wrote In My Bones while living at my family home on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. My father was dying of cancer and I was home to be with him. Facing a loss like that made me re-evaluate my core beliefs on just about everything. And In My Bones came out of that process. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever written to an Artists Statement and one of the few songs I never tire of singing.”
We asked Carmel a few questions about the song:
1. It was very courageous of you to tap into such a fresh grief for this award-winning song. How does it impact you when you hear it and when you perform it? Sometimes this song brings me directly back to those last days with my father. But usually I think about the broader perspective of the song: the idea that grief and loss of all kinds are a part of my life that I must accept and strive to understand.
2. Did you ever get to play the song to your father? If so, what memory do you have of this? Me father did get to hear the song when it was still new, although he never heard the album. As he was my first songwriting teacher (he helped me pen my first song when I was seven and worked through many more with me after that), his opinion of my work was very valuable to me. In My Bones got his nod of approval and that’s one of the reasons it became the cornerstone of my album.
3. What do you hope listeners of this song will walk away with for their own life journey?
Everyday we are faced with decisions which will result in some measure of pleasure and some measure of pain. But there is so much wonder to be found in a life that is lived bravely, without inordinate fear of being hurt. I hope In My Bones inspires this kind of courage. And it’d be sweet if you walk away humming the melody too!
4. What advice would you give other songwriters tapping into painful moments in their life for inspiration?
Don’t be afraid. Write through every stage. And get to the other side where you’ll be able to write other things again.
Hear the song and buy the album at www.carmelmikol.com/buy
Visit Carmel Mikol’s profile, read her bio and hear the song: www.songwriters.ca/member/CarmelMikol