Poetry in Emotion: Finding her Voice

An unsilenced reading of Bliss: Poet & Musician

The poet-musician known as Bliss is an artist with a signature sound, and a certain way of hearing the world. Her voice, her lyrical content, and her delivery of her lyrical elements are unmistakable in their own unique way, in terms of how they transmit her inner self as well as the universal lived experiences of others.  That is to say, she both personalizes and universalizes themes of human emotion—some of which are rarely articulated in popular music.  This, I believe, is what drives the daring and the edginess of all of Bliss’s lyrical and poetic content.

However, this raw, unfiltered level of consciousness and honesty in both content and delivery were not always present, let alone apparent.  In fact, there was, and remains to this day, a facet in which Bliss felt and feels voiceless, silenced, erased, and made to be quietly invisible.  She recalls this sensation even as a child in school, and remembers the effects that her externally-imposed muted-ness visited on her inner world:

”… My teachers saw my quietness as a weakness — I remained quiet.”

– Bliss

Bliss is known for her sultry, agile voice, across genres such as R&B, hip-hop, rap, jazz, and blues.  But perhaps foremost, she is notable for her edgy, experimental refusal to conform to normative genre boundaries, an appealing quality in a compartmentalized virtual music “world” such as BandLab.  However, what sets Bliss apart, in my opinion, is her spoken-word poetry, because not only does it appeal to my own artistic sensibilities, no one is doing it like her.

Her poetry is the epitome of honest, raw, unadulterated emotion both in its content and delivery.  At times combined with sung lyrics, at times purely lyrical in spoken form, it is always original, and always stunningly compelling.  These characteristics represent a departure from and response to a past in which she felt muted; poetry through music has allowed Bliss to discover and define her own inner voice, thereby gaining a sense of self through artistic expression.

Although she typically defies definition, as evidenced by her #nogenre approach to writing, singing, arranging, and interpreting music and lyrics, Bliss characterizes her style and artistic identity as: “a Creator of Vibes…captivated [by] whatever “vibe” lives within me at that moment.”

As we begin to unpack, in greater depth, some examples of Bliss’s spoken, sung, and spoken/sung work, we will begin to uncover precisely what she means and demonstrates in her allusion to “vibes,” most notably in the track called “Falsetto,” wherein  she exemplifies the ideal of intrinsic, naturally-occurring rhythms that appear upon pressing “record,” seemingly emerging from the beat themselves.  Vibes are spontaneous. As are poems. As is art.

What IS poetry?

For Bliss, poetry consists of “finding her voice.” It is the act of refusal to be silenced, the act of being heard and to assert personhood, granting Bliss the motivation to create.

That said, let’s look at Bliss, the person. After all, her artistic expression is a manifestation of her personhood, her humanity, the very aim and focus of that act of writing for her, and something she feels has been erased for her entire life that now, in poetry, has a forum on which to be validated. Let’s get a snapshot into her background, her motivation, her process. And then we’ll look at, and between, her poetic and musical lines. She draws very few of them and they all merge in fascinating ways.

For starters, Bliss’s self-proclaimed affinities include; “astrology, poetry, meditation, cultural history, writing, creating, independence, laughing, my cat (Monster), my dog (Louis), people gazing, nature, podcasts, studying culture”

Monster and Louis

Whereas, her distastes lie in “judgement, hate, passive aggressiveness, mayonnaise, ice Cubes in wine, ketchup, structure, mustard, laziness… and anything that smells bad”

(This writer finds it interesting that three disliked condiments (mayo, ketchup, mustard) are separated (in true poetic form) by three completely disparate objects and/or tangible things…)

How would you describe yourself, your purpose, your creative inspirations, and artistic values?

“ I am an introverted dreamer, full of passion and light. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana music comes naturally to me in rhythms and vibrations. I am a proud product of an Aries Sun, Pisces Moon, and Cancer Rising. My life purpose is to use my voice to help others in whichever way that I can. I have a love for seeing others succeed while constantly searching for my mission in life.  I am a natural empath, I am currently discovering and owning my unique abilities to see the world in a way many do not.” 

This statement leads directly to a discussion of Bliss’s spoken/sung poetic track “Mission”:

Bliss describes this piece of poetic music as “a constant inner and outer struggle…a never-ending contrast between wants and needs.”  This speaks to the inner dichotomy that both tears her apart, and molds her together, resulting in the artist she has evolved to become.  In fact, in her own words, Bliss articulates this gulf in selfhood as a binary conflict of “perfection and imperfection; success and self-sabotage”:

“[These lyrics] display the actions of trying to hold everything together while crumbling apart. The harmony in the background represents inner consciousness; the poetic voice describes the opposing actions. “

Of no surprise is that Bliss remarks on the parallelism of this dichotomy as a “journey.”  As we see and will see from this piece and the ones to follow, Bliss’s soul is attempting to find, to strive for, to attain and assert a voice, and a place.  In order to attain agency and autonomy as a person and as an artist, Bliss’s lyrics serve as the conduit or pathway of achieving her “Mission” of happiness (of Bliss) through the trials, inner and outer, that have confronted  (and, perhaps tormented her) throughout her entire life.

What is the source, the origin, the fundamental elements of the inner conflict, the dichotomy?  Read on to discover what makes Bliss the artist that she is, and is becoming.

“I grew up a shy and introverted kid; I remember having thoughts that I could never communicate through words. In my childhood, pre-kindergarten to 3rd Grade, I struggled with Selective Mutism. I grew up in a community where “tough love” was a form of programming and was “needed” for a child to survive. Everyone knows the phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child” and my elders honored that above everything.”

“…that was the first time I saw my words touch others. It was a joy that I still carry forward with me. It was a high worth the chase. After that, I knew I could not be silenced.”

“I remember fighting back the tears, while they begged me to at least utter a sign of pain — I never did. Just took it, not sure if it was my anxiety holding back my words or if it was just me refusing to conform only for the pleasure of others. In Fourth Grade poetry became my voice. My teacher Ms. Butler was the first to validate my Poetry. She was studying to get her Master’s in English and shared with us some of her graduate assignments. One of her assignments was to make a poetry book, so she gave us the opportunity to make our own.  I wrote a poem entitled “Pink Sun,” The goal was to write a poem on a feeling using adjectives in a haiku format. I remember the feeling I had when writing that poem. I don’t recall the words, but I remember sitting in my dad’s van staring at the sunset, feeling a sense of reawakening. Ms. Butler was so amazed by my poem she submitted my poetry book to her Professor. She cried while reading it aloud to the class, and that was the first time I saw my words touch others. It was a joy that I still carry forward with me. It was a high worth the chase. After that, I knew I could not be silenced.”

I love experimenting with my flow and delivery.”

– Bliss

“My first love of lyrics and songwriting came from listening to Disney soundtracks. The ballads in movies like Anastasia and Pocahontas were my favorite parts to listen to. My parents were “old school” and did not allow for me to listen to the radio. I grew up listening to Otis Redding, Luther Vandross, Denise Williams, Whitney Houston and Karen White. My songwriting influence came from Ballads like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” and “Super Woman.” It’s hard for me to place my music in any specific genre; I would guess it seems most fit for Rhythm and Blues however I love experimenting with my flow and delivery. “

The motivation behind the creation

“I try to be as vulnerable as possible on every track…”

– Bliss

“Finding my voice motivates me to create. Also, allowing my words to touch others aids my creating as well. I try to be as vulnerable as possible on every track I record. Sometimes that vulnerability is presented as aggression and other times its pure, yet rugged. Creating allows me to tap into areas of my mind that usually go unnoticed from my conscious existence.” 

Again, we encounter the consistent theme of a young artist who felt both physically and metaphorically silenced, and is using her art as a means of expression: to craft the vocal cords necessary to validate her footing in a world that would otherwise mute her and erase her impulse to express.

With vulnerability and expression come mood, and swift, non-moderate manifestations of these moods.  No emotion in any Bliss piece that I have encountered is by any means tempered or moderate; Bliss truly feels and lives her art in all of its nuances, and to their fullest capacity.

“I classify myself as a Creator of Vibes, my music is always moody and full of theatrics. I love to incorporate my poetry into my tracks. I also enjoy just pressing record and captivating whatever “vibe” lives within me at that moment.”  

These momentary expressions are not simply histrionics, however; these are masterful pieces of raw self-ness—and not the indulgent type—rather, Bliss’s poetry and music offer the listener a generous microcosm of the complex and often contradictory state of emotions (or “vibes) dwelling deeply within her artistic soul.

Bliss’s handwritten manuscript of “Mission”

An assortment of Bliss’s spoken lyrical / musical Pieces

Break Me Down

For Bliss, Break Me Down appeals to that moody vibe to which she often refers, especially a very relatable feeling of overwhelming anxiety; here disguised and masked as a love song.  She recalls crafting the lyrical structure for this track internally, while gardening, which speaks to the theme of her torn and conflicting inner self:  angst against garden.  Ultimately, she states: “there’s a life lesson in Break Me Down. Plant too many seeds together and they will all drain each other.”

The very cadence, rhythm, structure, not to mention the lyrical content of this track speaks to the lived experience of an individual who has been drained both internally, through self-conflict, and externally, from a world pressing an eraser against her voice:

Lyrics for ‘Break Me Down’ (click to expand)

Feeling so locked in
I close myself
Voice is gone
Can’t even hear myself
So Alone
Medicine don’t help
Stress so much;
Messing up my health
Know you told me you’re
A humble soul
Gave it all
Let the feelings go
Love you longer
Then you’ll ever know
Lonely love to love
Broke Ego
You break me slowly
You break me slowly
Wake up each morning
Hoping to be free
You break me slowly
You break me slowly
Wake up each morning
Hoping to be seen
Spilling so much seeds
The Garden Died
Don’t know if it’ll come back
See no light
Looked up high
Hopping to see the Sky
Walking alone; unarmed
Need peace of mind
Know you told me you’re
A humble soul
Gave it all
Let the feelings go
Love you longer
Then you’ll ever know
Lonely love to love
Broke Ego
You break me slowly
You break me slowly
Wake up each morning
Hoping to be free
You break me slowly
You break me slowly
Wake up each morning
Hoping to be seen

Falsetto

A total free-vibe (read: a lyrically freestyled, impromptu) vocal delivery, with much of the spontaneity referenced earlier, “Falsetto” is one of Bliss’s latest drops and has been receiving quite a bit of attention both on Bandlab and across platforms for its ingenuity of sound, structure, and concept.

Pulse Racing

“Pulse Racing,” as the title foreshadows, is the artist’s quest for calm within the storm, a serenity within the inner rage. The impact of the song lies in the ideal of a figure who might

“…love me in a way pure enough where you can see through and past my anger, toward the passion behind it.”

– Bliss

Lyrics for ‘Pulse Racing’ (click to expand)

Magical souls lost within their eyes.
Love me pure enough to make me high
Never want come down off this plight
My soul thinks your soul pure enough for mine
Innocent glamour; it burns all their eyes
Gentleness your touch; while I’m on fire
Calm me baby don’t let me die
My fire Is the energy I need for life
Hold my hand; so tightly
Feel your pulse racing into my mine
Hold my hand; 
feel the words that live within my skin
Hold my hand; 
so tightly feel your pulse race into mine
Hold my hand; 
feel the words that live within my skin 
(FreeVybe) Something about when
I first saw you 
At our local bar 
Gave me vibes so real; 
I saw your vibe From a far
Something about the way you looked at me
You stole my heart It just be
The art in you
I just be my heart
Smoke a blunt one time  
Light it up one time
Got so high up in your vibes
Told you that I was closed off
You looked at me and said no love lost 
Hold my hand;
so tightly feel your pulse racing in my mine 
Hold my hand;
feel the words that live within my skin
Hold my hand;
so tightly feel your pulse racing in mine 
Hold my hand 

Synesthesia

A Spoken/Sung reflection, performed by Bliss and Beck. Bliss summarizes the collaboration she and I participated in creating together, as a way to reveal her voice being silenced, and her emotions being masked or hidden—to wit—gaslighted.  She delineates this interpretation line-by-line:

Lyrics for Synesthesia (click to expand)

(Beck’s verses and chorus precede Bliss’s)

VERSE

The smell of your voice

Tastes like thunderstorms

The deafening touch of your eyes

Takes me under

To where it’s so warm

Hammock glides

Into the calm

In your hands

In your palms

CHORUS

The sound of a uke

Feels like coconut juice

Puts me in rhythm

Puts me in reach

Of a beach that is you

You always teach me new ways to swim in

Synesthesia

VERSE

The taste of this sound

When you’re strumming my heartstrings

So quiet out loud

Lands me so surely on your shore

Down in the air, Up off of the ground

I feel you hearing my breath

Your vision so clear so crystal

Profound

CHORUS

The sound of a uke

Feels like coconut juice

Puts me in rhythm

Puts me in reach

Of a beach that is you

You always teach me new ways to swim in

Synesthesia

BLISS:

Sweetness lingers within each sip

[signifying I believed your lies]

Sour bitterness now torch my lips

[referencing how she was made to feel like she misspoke]

Devoured each lie

Burning all my insides

 [once again, gas-lighted, believing the lies that she herself did not utter]

Left me wide open / still I fumbled / no grip

[she was made to be vulnerable, to open herself, and her voice, when she shouldn’t have, against her will]

Slippery ground

No crash when I fall

[no sound emanates when she falls to the ground; signals invisibility/inaudibility]

Bruised red / and black

A fire in the dark

[she’s hurt but her light will continue to burn, her will will survive]

Crushed ashes now linger

In the air / all dogs bark

Echos of branches

Now lost from their bark

[her vulnerabilities are exposed, ready to be taken advantage of ; part of her is now gone, shed]

The taste of this sound

Unwinding / unwound

[recognizing these things, she is nevertheless unfazed]

When you’re strumming my heartstrings

Unbound

[only to be yet again gaslighted]


Out the Shadows

Out the Shadows represents Bliss’s finale: stepping into the self that is herself, owning her being, releasing and emerging from the shadows, confronting her true potential.

Lyrics for Out the Shadows (click to expand)

 Out of the shadows and into the light
 He told me to hush
 No words were needed to feel his touch
 Yet years have passed
 No tears were shed
 For His powers now surpassed his past
  
 If a lover’s bond was strong
 It would hold fast past the grief
 The insecurities you breathe
 Turned to doubt in me
  
 When you’re down I serve thee
 Empower your ego
 Let you see yourself
 Through the eyes of a King
  
 When you’re down I serve thee
 Empower your ego
 When I’m down
 You spit on me
 Ran out the shadows and into the light
 Owning my demons to own all my pride
 Can’t keep on living a life that ain’t mine
 Letting go; funeral; watching her die 

Final word from Bliss;

“I am beyond excited to announce that I am working on an EP entitled  “IDOIOCYN”. The project will highlight my idiosyncrasy; each track will be highly energetic and passionate. On each track I am aiming to find every hidden pocket within the beat to deliver artistic, eccentric vibes.  I made it a goal to work exclusively with producers on Bandlab. I currently have features with Preston (@pbanks336) MadiBabyyy (@madibabyyy) and BotheeSpiderr (@botheespiderr).” 

Stay tuned for “Idiosyn,” the new upcoming E.P. which is sure to be an inspired piece of creative validation, of self-actualization and personal discovery through lyrics and music.

Thank you, Bliss, for allowing us to hear your vision, your voice and to feel your poetry in emotion. 

Bliss can be found on the following platforms:

Bandlab- @signedwithbliss

Ig: @signed.with.bliss

All other Platforms: Signed with Bliss

11 Comments

  • MadiBabyyy
    1 year ago Reply

    Another well written piece Beck! It was great getting a look into the life of Bliss! Your very talented and happy to be part of your new project! 🥂🥂

    • beck
      1 year ago Reply

      Madibabyyy thanks so much for reading, and for being such a source of support and validation in our quest to credit these artists!!

  • 𝑩𝒍𝒖𝒓𝒓𝒚
    1 year ago Reply

    Brilliant write up!
    Extremely in depth dive intowhat makes Bliss so ‘Blissful’.

    Incredible artist, definitely in my top 3 Female Artists on the Lab.

    Good work Beck.M.

    • beck
      1 year ago Reply

      Blurry thanks so much for reading — and I agree, one of the top female artists here and elsewhere.

  • Wilander
    1 year ago Reply

    Bravo!!!!!👏🏾

  • BoTheeSpiderr
    1 year ago Reply

    This is a great read and it definitely kept me engaged. Powerful story!!!!

  • Ste McKenna (aka The Fintan Stack)
    1 year ago Reply

    Exceptional piece of writing, Beck and a great insight into the very talented Bliss. Loved listening to the tracks and the process behind the writing.

    The cross between poetry and song fascinates me and you can see the connection in this article.

    A pleasure to read Beck and Bliss!

  • Tim Fontaine
    1 year ago Reply

    Great portrait of a talented lady! It inspired me to go back and listen to this beautiful piece… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sMJzYnrC5k

  • Kevin Thomas Wright
    1 year ago Reply

    You really can’t stop reading once you start, I really feel like I know this artist personally now awesome job!!!

  • Maha
    1 year ago Reply

    nice article about Bliss

    • Maha
      1 year ago Reply

      and good story about Beck

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