Why I Wrote It: CIGARETTE SMOKE

As today is the two year anniversary of the release of this song, I figured I'd add it to the Why I Wrote It series.



Cigarette Smoke was done in collaboration again with my dear friend Dylan (dyl_pykl). This was the first song we recorded together, and it got the ball rolling for a ton of other projects which besides He Called Me Beautiful, are all still in the works. Cigarette Smoke was my introduction to the lofi style. To this day, it is still one of my favorites.


Cigarette Smoke was written sometime in the fall of my freshman year in college. It comes from a place of hurt. For me, the transition from high school to college left a lot of old friends in the past. It wasn't necessarily a difficult transition for me to make, but upon reflection of the time period, it's never necessarily easy to leave people behind. My best friend from high school and I were losing touch during this period (although now her and I have never been closer), and that relationship, coupled with a recent breakup, were the primary motivators for this song.


I had never experienced the sort of physical distance for the amount of time that going away to school demands. So the whole experience of planning and executing my move put a lot of strain on relationships that, at the time, were not as strong as I thought they were. At the time where I actually wrote the song, it had been a few months since my first real breakup occurred. But after passing by my ex on the street one day, and seeing that he had started smoking cigarettes, I felt pushed to write this song. The relationship ended for a few reasons, but the biggest reason was the hour or two that we'd be apart once I moved away to school. In hindsight, I do not think that an hour is a deal breaker, so I am glad the relationship ended when it did.


But especially once discovering that he had taken to smoking, I began to think about how quickly people's lives can change without you noticing once you become removed from it. Similarly in the situation with my high school best friend, after we had been apart and not speaking for quite a few weeks and months, I noticed via Instagram that she had started to wear makeup. It sounds dumb, but I had never known her to wear makeup, so this was a big development that left me feeling even farther from her. Now her and I can laugh about it, but at the time it was quite a traumatic realization I made.


I do not relate to the song now as much as I did when it was first written. But as with any song I write, I think my ability to get over a hurtful or traumatic experience is directly related to if I have a song written about the situation or not. Songwriting, or writing in general, is absolutely a way for me to heal and to make something super personal and possibly difficult to think about, into something beautiful that can be shared and used as a tool to move on.


Cigarette Smoke opened a lot of doors within my identity as a songwriter, and I will forever be grateful to the experiences that led me to writing it. And of course, Dylan will always have a space in my heart and in my music from his help, support, and creativity in all my music, but especially with this song.


Distance doesn't mean the same thing to everyone

And distance doesn't force the ones to say goodbye when you're all gone

But loving, it's an easy thing to do from far away

And distance makes it real, real easy to tell who really loves you


And I thought that we were stronger than cigarette smoke

And you promised me that you'd be by my side

Oh oh oh oh well


These feelings, they grab me and hold me

Oh but baby they don't hold me quite like you do

These feelings, they're ripping me from you, and you from me, and me from everyone

And this distance, doesn't mean the same to you, the same to me, the same to everyone


And I thought that we were stronger than cigarette smoke

And you promised me that you'd be by my side

Oh oh oh oh well


And I thought that we were stronger than cigarette smoke

And you promised me that you'd be by my side

Oh oh oh oh well



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