I’m not a big fan of reality shows. I watch them if my kids have them on. Some of them are okay; most are not. I’ve always felt it hard enough to deal with my own reality – dealing with somebody else’s is a daunting thought. However, this is not to say I don’t enjoy other people’s version of reality, especially when it’s served in the form of brilliant lyrics, which is the case with our song of the week, Simone Reyes’ “I’m Ready” – an extremely nice country offering that will not leave anyone cold…that’s a promise.
“I’m Ready” is a big song, a deep song, dealing with issues that one understands fully only after having truly lived and more importantly, after having been let down by life a time or two. The full depth of such lines as, “I’ve spent a lifetime reliving all my yesterdays, slipped off every lifeline in the arms of my mistakes,” would be next to impossible to explain to someone who is still wet behind the ears. I hate the concept of “competitive suffering,” mainly because people deal with whatever trauma life burdens them with differently and also because our stamina to handle life disappointments varies from person to person. However, to a guy who’s been through pretty much, “I’m Ready” is more than an outstanding country tune, it’s a free four-minute therapy session reassuring and reminding us all that everybody hurts and that no-one has the exclusive rights to suffering or setbacks. Most importantly though, the song trumpets the age-old wisdom: It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up.
Although a songwriter herself, Reyes did not write “I’m Ready” but rather discovered the track, deemed it irresistible and decided to make it her own:
I both write songs and perform other songwriters’ music if it resonates deeply with me. This is what happened with “I’m Ready.“ It’s written by Mason Douglas and Bill DiLuigi and the moment I heard the song, I knew I had to record it. I relate to every word. The overall message is about self-empowerment. I feel it’s a great song for everyone who struggles with feelings of insecurity or the concept that their dream has an expiration date on it.
However, with artists like Reyes, you’re always going to get a bit more than just the song. She might not have written “I’m Ready” but it is oddly autobiographical, a fact I discovered as I learned a bit more about her and the path that led her into becoming a recording artist. The story’s full of twists and turns but if it is one thing, it’s inspirational. Says Reyes:
I started singing the moment I could talk. My father is an incredible flamenco guitarist and mom was always playing her John Denver records, so the little New York City Greenwich Village apartment I grew up in was always alive with music. I got my first job at ten and then once I turned fifteen I never stopped working. I started at Def Jam when I was a teenager and took college courses at night and eventually, fell into the grind of being an executive, which left literally no time for me to pursue any of my creative outlets. Then I became very involved with animal issues and that took up even more time. Once that was coupled with having a family life, the singing/songwriting had to take a back burner. Then about a year ago, I found myself with a bit of time (still not a lot) to concentrate on my own creative outlets. After having a very tough year trying to save my dog’s life in vain and losing some very important close friends in the process, I needed an outlet and the music organically grew from that.
Regardless of its sleek production, “I’m Ready” packs a lot of punch musically speaking as well. The tune features powerful vocals, some very nice guitar licks and an inviting melody. In fact, it is very difficult to imagine any true fan of country music turning their radios off upon hearing the opening chords of “I’m Ready.” While the song’s rather safe, meaning it does not really venture into any of country music’s unexplored territories, it is a cleverly crafted pop tune that’s both dynamic and exciting. One listen to it will make you realize that most alternative music featuring forced chord progressions and extended solos really isn’t that great after all. With “I’m Ready,” Reyes has given us a country gem that will no doubt help her gain momentum for her career. I for one love it.
My four-year old came into the kitchen this morning when I was listening to “I’m Ready.” He looked at me and asked, “What is she ready for?”
“Life,” I said, fully well knowing he had no idea what I was talking about. Hence I continued, “She’s telling everyone that she’s fallen down a few times but that she is not giving up, she’s getting up again. Do you understand?”
“Yes. I’m ready for a cookie,” he blurted out smiling and looked at me with his big beautiful eyes…I gave him one.
You can learn more about Simone Reyes here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tommi Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in. To him, they are a way of life.
You can check out his current band The Impersonators here:
And the music of his previous group Carmen Gray here: Spotify