Akron singer-songwriter Angie Haze is telling her life story through music. She’s recording an album and video series documenting how she overcame years of domestic violence and abuse. This week, she's releasing Volumes 3 and 4.
Haze is known as Akron’s one-woman band. She sings and simultaneously plays multiple instruments – all by ear. A couple years ago, she had a vision of how her music could help others. She mapped out the series called May My Stories Be Worn Like My Coats. It's her personal and often painful journey told through 12 EPs and 24 music videos.
So far, she has four volumes recorded, starting with a song called "The Skin Horse". Haze says it's about the moment when "things get real."
"The Skin Horse was a character in the Velveteen Rabbit. And he told the Velveteen Rabbit what it meant to be real," Haze said.
Haze says the accompanying music video describes childhood.
"As children, we believe that we can do anything. With the wears and tears and the aches, we start to steer away from dreaming. My point is, you can go through really horrific things and still come back to that magic."
Volume 2: Taking back the space
Volume 2 of the series features a roughly nine-minute song called "Gingerbread Man". "It’s about my dad, who was sexually, physically and mentally abusive from the time I was two," Haze said.
The music video was recorded in the attic of her childhood home, where the abuse often occurred. "I knocked on the door and asked these people that I didn’t know if it was okay. There’s a second half of the song where I look dead in the camera as if to say, 'I’m taking back this space. This is mine.'"
Volume 3: Finding confidence
Haze says Volume 3 describes a time when her life began to take a positive turn, as described in the song "Remembering the Days You Flew".
"I was living out of my car and telling myself, ‘You can dream; you can still pick yourself back up. You just have to breathe.' I got into meditation and found confidence in what I was doing."
Volume 4: Moments of bliss
Volume 4 is the most upbeat record so far, mostly documenting new love. "I go into what it’s like to be in that complete bliss and my songs reflected about that time too. So, it’s very upbeat and very happy."
The fourth EP also includes a song called "I Am, You Are, We Are, Enough". It recently won the Public Choice Grand Prize at Akron's High Arts Festival.
“We’re often taught to believe that what we do and who we are isn’t enough," Haze says. "And then we take that idea and we bring it into our relationships and our daily lives. The song is about just accepting all of it. If I can daily say, ‘I am enough,’ even if I don’t believe it at first, you start to notice the change."
Haze says she's getting ready to start recording the next volume, and while she doesn't have a completion date for the whole series, she says it's already written, including the end.
"I’m using myself as sort of a guinea pig to say it’s important to face and acknowledge the things that broke you in some way."
Angie Haze plays release shows this weekend at the Akron Civic Theater.