It had been a few months since I last used Smule, but lately, I couldn’t shake the urge to belt out a cover of “Juicebox” by The Strokes. Working in a warehouse that was empty 90% of the time, I had the freedom to either blast the radio or keep one headphone in as I sang along with the classic rock records from the 90s and 2000s that had once inspired me. My voice had grown rough from disuse, but I believed I could find that sweet rasp that would allow me to slide into Julian’s vocal range. One morning, as I walked through the empty warehouse, memories of meeting Julian in West Village flooded my mind. I couldn’t help but compare who I was back then—an artist full of passion and dreams—to the person I had become. The industry had chewed me up and spit me out, leaving me a shell of my former self. But as I mentally prepared myself to record my cover, I was determined to find a reason to smile again. After another long day at the warehouse, I dragged my weary body back to the house, my heart heavy with the weight of the past. The damp, cold confines of the basement beckoned, but I forced myself to climb the creaky stairs to the small room where I had been staying. As I reached the upstairs room, I hesitated for a moment before closing the door behind me, sealing myself in with my thoughts and ambitions. I set up my phone on a small table that sat in the middle of the room, its screen reflecting the faint light that shined above me. My heart began to race with anticipation and anxiety as I prepared to face my own voice again. Taking a deep breath, I hit the record button on Smule and started singing, my voice rough but steady. It felt foreign and familiar all at once, like greeting an old friend who had been away for far too long. With each verse and chorus, I tried my best to channel the passion and energy that once defined me, searching for the light that had been dimmed by years of hardship.

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