Falling Back in Love with My Cello Through Writing My Debut EP, Sleepless Nights

The cello is the instrument most similar to the human voice.  Though technically unable to speak, mine loves to sing out into the surrounding atmosphere as my means of expression.

Losing passion for something is often a very painful process, and not so easy to counteract. Unfortunately, this happened to me with my cello during my seventh year of playing. Throughout 2020, I had a long battle with my health, and as a result, I lost any desire to play my beloved instrument. Every time I tried was nothing short of an arduous experience, and it felt like my love for the cello had disappeared. It was beyond frustrating that something so precious to me had become one of my most significant sources of animosity. However sick I was, I still couldn’t throw away my love for music as a whole. Thus, I started writing my own using atmospheric keyboard sounds and virtual instruments to express the distress I was feeling, all while my cello stayed locked away in its case. I’d play my favorite ideas to my dad to get his insight, and he once responded by asking, “Why aren’t you using your cello?” While I agreed that it would definitely be a great way to make my songs more unique, I dreaded the thought of trying to pick it back up.

One of the first ideas I came up with that truly felt like something special was a demo I titled “Creepy Orchestra.” It started as just a melancholic cry depicting all of the challenges I was fighting with my health, but I became obsessed with it. I knew it had the potential to be a really cool song, but it was clearly missing something to take it there. Finally, after two months of brainstorming, I realized what it needed. I walked over to my dusty case for the first time in what felt like ages, took out the cello I detested so much, and began to tune it up. By the end of the day, I had recorded the foundation of what would become the first two tracks on my debut EP: Dream Sequence and Dead End.

Once I started using my cello to help me write songs, it felt like the floodgate of ideas that had been previously closed off was forced open. My music became more expressive, more unique, and, most importantly, more me. Not only that, I also felt a stronger connection with my instrument. I stopped worrying so much about minute details in my playing and started focusing solely on getting my message across. This made writing the rest of the EP much more instinctual. Ultimately, the five tracks on the project simultaneously tell two stories: 1) My daily battle with health during the height of my challenges and 2) My falling back in love with my cello. However, these narratives aren’t distinctly separate; they’re intertwined. They exist as a result of the other, with my hardships being the primary catalyst for my evolved relationship with my instrument and the rebuilding of that relationship helping me get through the rough times at hand.

These stories are narrated by my two voices: my human voice and my cello. When I’m unable to articulate my emotions through words, my cello is there to be my voice of expression. These days, it no longer stays hidden in its case. I look over to see it soaking in the sunlight atop its stand, a constant reminder for me not to let anything get in the way of what I’m truly passionate about.

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