“I don’t feel well,” says Lori Cullen. “Everything has changed too fast. All of my paid work is gone. I have to teach my child and I am failing. I have no more time to myself. I’m worried about money. I’m worried about everything and everybody.”
Like so many others in the music industry and beyond, the Juno-nominated jazz vocalist has been feeling the full weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. But also like so many others, Cullen turned to music to help restore her strength of spirit.
Cullen teamed up with pianist and composer Ari Posner to record a stripped-down, delicate treatment of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, which she has now shared with fans.
“I have to do something to remind me of who I am, to give me hope and to pull myself out of the mud,” Cullen says in a Facebook post accompanying the song.
When Posner first sent her the piano accompaniment, Cullen says it felt “like everything I need to hear right now, everything I need to sing. I am so inspired by his playing and approach to this song I have heard so many times before. I do one vocal take and I can feel a sense of myself whipping through my body.”
It comes with a music video featuring dancer Andrea Nann, filmed at Cullen’s home “in her own state of exhaustion, in her humble confidence and her open heart that floored me.”
Since arriving on the Canadian music scene in 2000, Cullen has recorded seven albums, including her Juno-nominated fourth effort Calling for Rain in 2006. Her most recent release is 2016’s Sexsmith Swinghammer Songs, featuring tunes written for her by Ron Sexsmith and Kurt Swinghammer.
The vulnerable, rejuvenating recording of Both Sides Now is available to buy on Bandcamp.