For the sake of sounding like a broken record, the most interesting thing about this song was that I initially started writing it about a recent break-up. It was a relationship that I felt was holding me back socially, musically, and personally, and I ended it on a whim, which was not the best way to end a relationship, and it is not my proudest moment. I was also working with some friends who became part of the “Cristina F Band,” and we were rehearsing and performing in the city whenever we could. I was on cloud nine until a huge event we were set to play for got cancelled less than 24 hours before. That was the day the band ended, and that was the day I think I gave up. I was so bummed and upset I stopped looking for performance opportunities, and then I stopped performing. I had just released my second EP Greatest Mistake, so this was all just very bad timing. The band ended, I had an EP I wasn’t promoting, and I wasn’t performing…what was going on? Just when I thought I was full speed ahead, I was stuck in neutral, rolling backwards. I was working at a music store, and the negative atmosphere that I experienced everyday there was starting to take a toll on me. I was finding myself overly aggressive and angry, and I was worried. I did not feel like myself at all, and I knew I needed to make some serious changes in my life. What does one do with heavy feelings? Write a song.
The reason I sat at my computer and started writing “Dear Beauty” was because I had a piano riff. I was just fooling around on a piano at work and I accidentally played it. I recorded it on my phone so I could possibly make a song from it after work. When I started working on the song, I added a moving bass line to compliment the repetition in the piano riff. I was kind of stuck after that, so I decided to add vocals to hopefully influence the rest of the song. I was trying to be different this time around, writing lyrics that you don’t often hear these days. The first words that came out of my mouth were “dear beauty.” I was able to put the mic down and continue on with the song, and when I recorded vocals for chorus, the words that came out are the words you hear on the recording. Initially, I thought okay, this could be a break-up song, but I didn’t want it to be. It wasn’t significant enough for me. I was more unhappy with myself in the now with my music and my job. I wasn’t performing and I wasn’t writing, and as an artist that really stressed me out. It wasn’t long before I realized I needed the song to be more about my self-awareness and discovery that the real me is still inside somewhere.
The song pretty much stayed the same arrangement wise when I went into the studio. The high “ooh” that you hear in the beginning of the song was a vocal recording that I added a lot of reverb and delays to on my demo. In the studio, my producer thought it was a synth or instrument sound, but when he found out it was my voice, we kept the original audio file on the track. The song also has live drums on it, which was something I should’ve had on all of my EPs!
“Dear Beauty” is a letter to myself. I felt ugly; I was very short-tempered, angry, and negative. Those aren’t traits that best describe me, and I was letting them run my life. I wasn’t moving towards anything I wanted because I constantly felt I was being held back. It’s a song to remind yourself that you are still beautiful on the inside. It’s okay to go through a rough time, everyone does, but try to find your true self and bring it back to the surface.
The song does have a location…an apartment. I received a few texts when the song came out, asking me what I say in the chorus. The lyrics are:
“I can’t go back to the past/cause my apartment is made of glass.”
Yes, I say apartment. But does the apartment represent a literal apartment, or my physical body? Hmm. The meaning of that line is that I can’t go back to the old me because everyone can and will see how I act, and that is not the person I want them to see. I am not the same person I was 5, 10 years ago. I have since grown into the person I am now, and that’s the Cristina I want people to see. I just need to find out where she went!
In the bridge I invite you into my “apartment” to “see I have no walls built to confine.” No walls to hide behind, just glass. “So the night can recite the truth, the beauty’s in you.” Ever look out a window at night and see your own reflection? This is the realization that my “beauty” is still within me and I have the power to bring her back. To be honest, I was not thinking this deep when I wrote this song. Most of the lyrics can have a double meaning, and you can interpret it as you wish. The song should empower listeners and help them realize that they are beautiful on the inside no matter what. We all go through life changes, good days and bad days, and sometimes we let that control us, but we have the power to change that.