Until last Wednesday, I had never seen a performer “take a hit” of an inhaler on stage. I guess there is a first time for everything, because west coast singer/songwriter, Lily Kershaw, did exactly that at her Wednesday night performance at Rockwood Music Hall.
In New York for her NYC debut, Kershaw woke up earlier in the week with no voice, which is kind of a bummer for a singer/songwriter. Luckily for her, she grew up here, so a visit to her childhood pediatric doctor loaded her up with enough antibiotics and steroids to get her through the night–with the help of her inhaler.
If she hadn’t made known that she wasn’t completely well, I doubt any audience member would have noticed. Kershaw brought the pipes of an angel to Rockwood’s stage last week, and she captivated the audience without effort.
Though Kershaw has been writing music since she was about 14 years old, she was somehow able to keep her creative process a secret for almost a decade before popular CBS drama, Criminal Minds, picked up her tune, “As It Seems,” for last year’s season finale and introduced her to iTunes. Since then, she’s been featured on a second season finale for the show and has finally decided to release an album.
While she’s obviously thrilled at the success of her music thus far (anyone would be), Kershaw maintains that her reason for making music was never attached to success and fame.
“Initially I think I started writing music, two-fold,” she explains. “One because I love telling stories and expressing life, my life and the lives I see around me. The other thing was I liked justifying experiences. Things that didn’t sit right. I loved the idea that I could turn it into music and it could heal me or maybe heal someone else.”
Kershaw is appreciative of the moves she’s made in recent years, but her reasons for writing have not changed.
“I think it worked those two times, and if it happens again great. I’ll keep writing regardless. I feel like I have a reason. I feel like I can give something good to society. I think there are a lot of ways you can feed people: smiles, being attentive, listening. But I like singing music too. It’s medicine.”
Her medicine may not be administered through an inhaler, but it is still effective. Kershaw played her New York debut for a packed house at Rockwood. If you missed it, shame on you, but rumor has it that she’d like to organize some dates around the release of her first album, Midnight in the Garden, in September of this year. While the album release party will most likely be in her hometown of Los Angeles, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that she stops through lil’ ole NYC again, so keep your eyes and ears open for updates. In the meantime, download Kershaw’s two singles from Criminal Minds on iTunes. Totes worth it.