Imagine that every move you make in your life leads you back to where you belong despite yourself. Meet Deborah Henson-Conant, a Grammy-nominated harpist with a story to tell.
Henson-Conant has been a composer and musician since as long as she can remember. She's also lived a circuitous life that is slowly bringing her home to her true self.
"At a very young age, I played a variety of different instruments," Henson-Conant said. "My parents were always after me to take lessons and I took several, but I hated them all. I loved the instruments, hated the lessons."
As an expert piano player, she learned everything by ear and only performed on the piano once.
"The only reason I choose to perform on the piano was as a venue for my musical theater writing," Henson-Conant said. "I did one performance on the piano, but I loved to write musical theater. One way or another I was going to put stories and music together."
Enter her time at Marin County College in Marin County, California...
"I was in the music room and the school literally had a harp in the closet," Henson-Conant said. "Having had six lessons as a kid, one of many instruments I tampered with, I became the resident expert."
It was soon clear that reading music to continue performing would be necessary. She connected with a teacher who understood her need to compose, and read music.
"She only gave me enough to continue re-creating myself," Henson-Conant said. "Now, suddenly, I'm living two lives," she explained. "The life of a classical harpist playing music at funerals, weddings and as background music at restaurants , but the other half of me was performing and writing musical theater."
"The question became; how do I find all of the pieces of myself, collect them, and incorporate them into who I really am," Henson-Conant said.
It was about this time that Henson-Conant was dating a jazz player. She asked if he felt that she could play jazz on the harp. When he answered no, she knew she had to learn.
"The blues fascinate me because it's a simple form of music that can be as complex or as simple as you wish to make it," Henson-Conant said. "I am constantly enriching an idea rather than starting anew or revisiting. I love that. As the instrument morphs, so does the music and the way the audience hears it."
Kind of like Henson-Conant's life; ever-changing.
"It's like starting at home, going out into the world thinking you know where you're going, living the dream, and coming home again transformed."
Henson-Conant will sing her way out of the blues with her very first fully inspired blues show, this Saturday night, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at The Center for the Arts in Natick. Tickets are $24 for members and $26 for non-members and can be purchased by calling 508-647-0097 or by clicking here.