Songs are touchstones; expressions of personal thoughts, emotions or memories. An outpouring of experiences. Songs can transport and inspire and also energize. Songs can also help the writer and the listener process emotions of loss or grief.
Actress and singer Lea Michele had been working on her new album, Louder, many months before the tragic and sudden death of her boyfriend, actor Cory Monteith, who died from a toxic mixture of heroin and alcohol. Michele and Monteith also connected professionally, playing high school sweethearts on Fox’s award winning series, Glee.With the recent release of Louder, Michele is giving candid interviews about Monteith and she recently recounted that Monteith had privately listened to and critiqued many of her new songs and he sent her notes about his thoughts on the album as she continued recording.
Naturally, Michelle’s work on Louder stopped after Monteith’s death on July 13, 2013. While mourning the loss of Monteith, Michele searched for songs to add to the album that would reflect her feelings of spinning out of control and songs that might explain to others the depth of what it felt like to be without Monteith, how much she loved him, and how scared she was to go on without him.
She found a song titled Cannonball; a song she said she plays over and over because it helps her feel emotionally stronger and hopeful about the direction of her future. “Grief is a scary thing,” Michele says. Yes, it is Michele, very scary and that’s why it’s so great that you are talking about it. Sadly, we don’t truly know how scary it is until it happens to us. You are brave to share your feelings and thoughts, letting others know that they are not alone in their grief journeys. I am so sorry for the pain of your loss.
Below is the story TV Guide recently published about Michele, her new album and tragedy of Monteith’s battle with his addictions.
Lea Michele: “Grief Is a Scary Thing”
“I had this experience happen to me [and] decided to write about it,” the Glee star tells the Los Angeles Times. “That’s what felt organic.”
Monteith, Michele’s Glee co-star and boyfriend of four years, died in July from a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol.
The album’s first single, “Cannonball,” is about new beginnings. Michele recalls hearing the song for the first time: I just literally keeled over because grief is a very scary thing, and there comes a point where it can really take you down,” she says. “[‘Cannonball’] lifted me up. It was what I needed to get through my difficult situation.”
Rather than avoid the topic, Michele decided to address Monteith’s death head-on on the record, which was released Tuesday. “A lot of people don’t know how to touch this situation. It’s like walking on eggshells,” Michele says. “I felt ‘Cannonball’ … puts it all out there. It’s like this is really hard, we’re not denying that it’s hard. We’re gonna get through it.”
Another track, “If You Say So,” which Michele co-wrote with Sia Furler, is a reflection on the last conversation she had with Monteith. “It’s something beautiful that came at a very difficult time,” Michele says of her record. “If I’ve learned anything from this past year is that you have one life. … You have to love as hard as you can love and live as hard as you can live because we just have one life. I feel like Louder really expresses that.”