Singled Out: Ruth Gerson's This Can't Be My Life
Writing the album got me from nowhere to somewhere and through the second hardest part of my life. [Originally ready for a summer 2007 release (the album was recorded, mastered and pressed), Gerson held back "This Can't Be My Life" because of her divorce and the challenges of being a newly-single parent.] The title track came on one of those days where everything had gone wrong, and everything was wrong, and I was on my hands and knees picking up a stack of broken plates and glasses off the floor, because an entire shelf had fallen. I was laughing at the metaphor for my life and I knew that I hadn't gone through everything I had gone through to get to a place of being totally beaten down. I think the spirit of my grandmother threw those plates and glasses on the floor to wake me up. I could hear her yelling at me and I was laughing as I was picking it all up and saying over and over, "This can't be my life, this can't be my life, this can't be my life."
Not my most sane hour, but an important one. Every part of me was rejecting that this was it. You think change is hard, but change is easy, compared to not changing. I was writing the entire album in a vacant therapist's office, I had use of in Chelsea, early in the mornings, from 6am to about 11am, I laughed so hard writing this song, I made two lefts, I shoulda gone right, If I made one more left, it woulda been right, It can't be, can't be my life.
People laugh at it with me. Everybody has been there. It's good to be on the other side of it. Everybody has their own worst problems, right? But the difference is, what to be grateful for, is having the opportunity to change things. Not everybody can change what's beating them. So many things are out of our control. Writing this song, playing this song changed my life. If a song can help you change your life, you're fortunate.
I was also fortunate to be able to work with Daniel Wise (producer, mixer). I had known him for years, but peripherally and re-working the recording of this song with him was a life-changing experience as well. When I started working on this song, I was working with a producer who was on some kind of power trip. I didn't yet have the self-propriety I have now, so I just took it, and you could hear it loud and clear on the track. Daniel Wise came into it and gave me this giant gift not only of his time and enormous talents, but a generosity of spirit. Looking at him, you'd never guess the man was such a beacon of hope and positivity, because he's got this indie producer, East Village swagger, but he is. He's amazing. It was awesome to record "This Can't Be My Life" with him. I had kinda lost my voice, both mentally and physically in some ways, and what makes Dan such a great producer is that in about two hours he helped me find it. Daniel Wise can wake the dead. I try to give all my students what Dan gave me. I tell them every day - every note you sing is beautiful, which is true on every level.
Ultimately recording the song was as life-changing as writing it.
Learn more about the album and grab tour dates - right here!