11 min

Episode 70: Davidson Hang Reflections and Lessons Learned on Alicia Key's Biography Davidson Hang Reflections and Lessons from a life worth living

    • Mental Health

These are some of the passages that really stood out to me.


"I’m often asked where my melodies and lyrics come from. I may never fully comprehend how a song sprouts from nothingness into existence, and truthfully, I’m not tempted to decode the mystery. I hope to be constantly surprised, in amazement of how the tiny seed of a possible chord or lyric miraculously springs to life. That unexplainable process, that alchemy, is part of what separates art from logic and reason. I don’t create from a set of rules or formulas. I tap into my true feelings and experiences and allow them to guide me."

"Life’s current was so obviously carrying me in the direction of music, and rather than trying to swim back upstream, I simply let the tide carry me forward. At the time, I wouldn’t have described it that way, nor did I truly understand that there was a flow with my name on it. But from this side of life, I can see how every moment, every experience, every pivot, even my supposed missteps have been life’s way of getting me where I have always been meant to go. Rather than resisting the current, I’ve learned to surrender." 

"a mother whose very presence gave me a deep sense of stability, the solid grounding I felt each time I walked through our apartment door. In essence, I longed for two mutually exclusive realities: inextricable connection and full-fledged self-reliance." 

“It saddens me that most of my heart is bitter towards you,” I wrote. “It’s only that little part that feels sad that’s not bitter … all I want is for you to mind your own business. I don’t want the phone calls. I don’t want the letters. I don’t want the fake acts you pull to try and make me think you care. I don’t want anything.” By the time those words rolled from the tip of my pen and onto my notebook paper, my longing for my father had hardened into resentment. My mother still recalls the many times when Craig said he’d fly in to see me but, for reasons unknown to me then, he did not show up. I’d sit beside the window in our living room, looking down over the terrace to see if I could glimpse him arriving. An hour or so after the appointed time, the phone would ring and I would overhear my mother, in hushed tones in her bedroom, saying, “Okay, I understand.” Moments later she’d emerge into the living room with disappointment etched on her forehead as she announced, “He can’t make it.” That was it. Conversation over. Expectations once again dashed." 

"became my people. And yet through every age and stage, I kept my mask in position. The less others really knew about me, I reasoned, the less ammunition they’d have to make me look foolish. Only if I revealed my tender spots could they wound me. My true self, the one I kept so deeply concealed, only emerged in my diaries. There, I could unveil. If Mom got heated and I got tongue-tied, I could escape to sort out my thoughts and gather my words before the two of us spoke again. And alongside my musings and misgivings lived my poetry, my unfinished lyrics, my schoolgirl crushes, my feelings about Craig. On cotton pages scrawled with purple ink, I didn’t have to be tough or brave or capable or strong. I could just be me." 

"My ballet teacher, thin and lanky, ordered me to “tuck in” my thick behind after I’d already tried to do so. With her second request, I became acutely aware that my butt was never going to “tuck in” as tightly as those of my classmates with smaller backsides. I suddenly felt self-conscious about a curvaceous figure that I’d been mostly happy with up till then."

"My mother had to be strict as a matter of my survival. I grew up near Times Square before it became Disneyland, during a time when Hell’s Kitchen lived up to its name. The kitchen, in most homes, is the place where the action goes down, where everyone passes through or congregates. It’s hot. It attracts dirt. It’s often loud and odorous—all accurate

These are some of the passages that really stood out to me.


"I’m often asked where my melodies and lyrics come from. I may never fully comprehend how a song sprouts from nothingness into existence, and truthfully, I’m not tempted to decode the mystery. I hope to be constantly surprised, in amazement of how the tiny seed of a possible chord or lyric miraculously springs to life. That unexplainable process, that alchemy, is part of what separates art from logic and reason. I don’t create from a set of rules or formulas. I tap into my true feelings and experiences and allow them to guide me."

"Life’s current was so obviously carrying me in the direction of music, and rather than trying to swim back upstream, I simply let the tide carry me forward. At the time, I wouldn’t have described it that way, nor did I truly understand that there was a flow with my name on it. But from this side of life, I can see how every moment, every experience, every pivot, even my supposed missteps have been life’s way of getting me where I have always been meant to go. Rather than resisting the current, I’ve learned to surrender." 

"a mother whose very presence gave me a deep sense of stability, the solid grounding I felt each time I walked through our apartment door. In essence, I longed for two mutually exclusive realities: inextricable connection and full-fledged self-reliance." 

“It saddens me that most of my heart is bitter towards you,” I wrote. “It’s only that little part that feels sad that’s not bitter … all I want is for you to mind your own business. I don’t want the phone calls. I don’t want the letters. I don’t want the fake acts you pull to try and make me think you care. I don’t want anything.” By the time those words rolled from the tip of my pen and onto my notebook paper, my longing for my father had hardened into resentment. My mother still recalls the many times when Craig said he’d fly in to see me but, for reasons unknown to me then, he did not show up. I’d sit beside the window in our living room, looking down over the terrace to see if I could glimpse him arriving. An hour or so after the appointed time, the phone would ring and I would overhear my mother, in hushed tones in her bedroom, saying, “Okay, I understand.” Moments later she’d emerge into the living room with disappointment etched on her forehead as she announced, “He can’t make it.” That was it. Conversation over. Expectations once again dashed." 

"became my people. And yet through every age and stage, I kept my mask in position. The less others really knew about me, I reasoned, the less ammunition they’d have to make me look foolish. Only if I revealed my tender spots could they wound me. My true self, the one I kept so deeply concealed, only emerged in my diaries. There, I could unveil. If Mom got heated and I got tongue-tied, I could escape to sort out my thoughts and gather my words before the two of us spoke again. And alongside my musings and misgivings lived my poetry, my unfinished lyrics, my schoolgirl crushes, my feelings about Craig. On cotton pages scrawled with purple ink, I didn’t have to be tough or brave or capable or strong. I could just be me." 

"My ballet teacher, thin and lanky, ordered me to “tuck in” my thick behind after I’d already tried to do so. With her second request, I became acutely aware that my butt was never going to “tuck in” as tightly as those of my classmates with smaller backsides. I suddenly felt self-conscious about a curvaceous figure that I’d been mostly happy with up till then."

"My mother had to be strict as a matter of my survival. I grew up near Times Square before it became Disneyland, during a time when Hell’s Kitchen lived up to its name. The kitchen, in most homes, is the place where the action goes down, where everyone passes through or congregates. It’s hot. It attracts dirt. It’s often loud and odorous—all accurate

11 min