Biography of this
When I was young I was strange. Then I grew up, and became deranged. No. Just kidding...
Geez, how can I make this simple? I'll try. Well, my name is Natalie Marie Rose Guedes. I go by my second middle name, Rose, and I'm often called "Rosie" by friends and family. I am a passionate 32 year old mother of two wonderful sons ages 9 and 11, music producer, artist, artivist and advocate. I live in Victoria B.C, Canada. Unfortunately I'm battling a debilitating and unusual connective tissue disorder, which is a genetic condition known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. But I am a passionate fighter because I love life, my loved ones, my art, and this earth!
Recently, I learned that I have a life threatening complication of EDS called AAI (neck instability).. so this is why you always see me in those 'cool/badass' neck collars - but I need em, just trying to make the best of it. It has come to a serious point, though, and the AAI needs surgery to be fixed (no fun among other things that lovely EDS does.) So, it's scary and hard, but I'm a warrior and I do not give up easily!
As of late, I have decided to make my album primarily available via pledge. I have designed and had produced special-edition physical copies of my album Live To Dream, or can send digital download if preferred, as gratuity gift for those who pledge to my fund for the surgery and care I need in MD, USA where they specialize in my condition. (see Get The Album for more info.)
I am doing my best to rise above all the painful challenges that come with this illness, and I intend on continuing to make art and 'artivism' content as much as I am able to on social media. In spite of things, I am pursuing my dreams, my music and 'artivism', no matter what. I hold my dreams close and have my bucket list ;) I'd like to think my love and passion for my art 'protects me' a bit. Well.. I'd like to think so, anyway ;)..
I am determined to try, through my journey as an artist, to make some of these dreams a reality. I "live to dream." There's been so many times I thought I wouldn't make it, but I got up and followed through. I didn't think I could compose and produce an album, but I did it.
That is why I am "Dreamerqueen." <3
i composed and produced Live To Dream last summer 2017, from my bedroom. Originally, I wasn't sure if I could do it, if I could get up - given the challenges in the past few years, since I had a bad autonomic nervous system crash in 2014 (people with EDS have fragile AN systems) I've spent a lot of time recovery, with a setback in 2016, and I'll never make a full recovery but I still hope for as much of one as possible. So, I thought my dreams would maybe pass me by, that I had been foolish and simply waited too long to seriously pursue them, especially the music - but I couldn't, and still can't, let them remain broken..
When it came to this music album, I was compelled. I said to myself "No, this is gonna happen; Rose, you will be the 'queen of your dream' ... and that's how I chose my stage name.
My stage name. "Dreamerqueen" but as sort of one word like that, sort of represents vehemently refusing to give up on your dreams, and what you feel is your purpose - no matter what barriers lie before you. It's a bit of ironic, even satirical antithesis, to what would be expected of the name. It's not in a 'royal' sense, it's deeper than that - but it's sassy and fun - which is why it can be deep and serious, and light and fun, simultaneously!
So, I pushed in any way I could, to find a way to make the album happen, because it has always been top on my bucket list, to be able to share my music with the world. I just had to 'get it out there.' I've been writing poetry and songs for years, and have come up with some good stuff. I worked with some great people - but lately, in the past couple years, when I've been at my sickest physically, I've written the best stuff I'd ever written. It has all been with a consistent running theme. Struggle and hope.
I just knew I had to materialize this into an album while I still could. It wasn't easy. I worked to get 'better enough' after a scary and brutal bout which wound me down to a concerning low body weight, and eventually in the hospital, in 2016. I barely survived through. I worked hard to get myself back, through some new meds that I found were needed, learning about herbal tea preparations, prescription digestive enzymes, very gentle physio, getting back out for walks etc. I was able to arrive at a place where I was about half-stronger. I had hit a 'grace period' over this last summer, where I thought I could really do this. I seized that opportunity.
Then, I sought investment. My longtime dear friend, reiki master Ellen Eckstrand, of Asraay Jadid Enterprises, was inspired by this new music of mine; catchy melodic tunes written to represent struggle and hope, influenced by my own survival story. Ellen was wowed, and expressed a desire to be an investor. So enter Ellen into the equation. Then, I reconnected with my friend, the talented Eric Hogg, of Soma Sound, to inform him that I now had the resources to do the dream album. He was very excited to hear this.
From the time I reconnected with Eric (we were actually acquainted in high school when he was the lead singer of a band I liked - Victoria is not too big a place) I knew that he would be the perfect person to co-produce this album with. It is hard to find words to describe Erics' uniquely intricate talent and honed skills, but I myself like to call it "wizardry." He uses a perfect combination of creativity, technical skill, and he can think well outside the box. He knows just how to push the limits and create new hybrids from previous 'favourites', and has always understood my visions regarding this. I knew Eric was the right person to help me materialize my vision. In early august 2017, we had a meeting with Ellen, and from there, we had the green light to go.
After a few talks and planning, we began. I built my visions from scratch on Logic 10, recorded the vocals, took several production notes, and then sent them over to Eric, so he could perform that "wizardry." We went through several versions of each song, back and forth, in tandem, as it all developed. I pushed my limits to do it, but I was fierce in spite of it all, and so here it is. Here it is. Here is Live To Dream.
i feel many people will love it.
My mission, when it comes to my music, allows me to both play and have fun, and make a difference. I am a multi-faceted, admittedly eccentric, creative, strong willed, determined, empathic person. I am a truth seeker - but ultimately a peace-and-love seeker too (ok, I sound like a hippie!) But I have been that way since I was really little. I think and process a little differently. I'm analytical yet very creative and fluid thinking. I am diagnosed on the autistic spectrum (Asperger syndrome, to be specific.) This brought gifts, but also, made things tough.
Since 2011 I have been involved in the adult autistic community and in doing my part to educate by sharing my reflections and experiences with autism from my own human point of view, through blogs and YouTube. My work here, as blogger "A Girl Outside The Box" and later, vlogger "Girl Outside", was well received by many. It was an intense, sometimes tumultuous journey that was both wondrous and painful, because it also attracted bullies, trolls and ignorant, harsh critics even in my own personal life. I didn't realize, at that time, what I would endure coming 'out of the closet' so openly, as a woman on the autistic spectrum (diagnosed asperger syndrome.)
The 'battle' to defend this tended to weigh on me emotionally, and heavily divert me from my music art, which I needed to balance me properly. So it was a real double edged sword. For this reason, I have mostly closed that chapter. But I'm glad to have helped many people in the way I did, at the time. I have left the better of my work as "Girl Outside" up available on social media...and though Girl Outside is over, I will always, to some degree anyway, be an advocate for autistic people and autism related matters. I'll always be an autistic person, of course - this never changes because it's part of who I am. A positive is that there have been some advances made, in terms of autism awareness, and this continues to develop, though we have a ways to go.
I always knew there was something different about me, growing up, and in short, this often lead to confusion, pain, suffering, and trauma. I used music, poetry, creativity, and learning about various special interests to cope.I had a particular gift for music, inventing tunes and rhythms, taking influence from several of my favourite songs and visually "throwing it in a washing machine" to make my own. I would get lost in this world. I was a strange bird - a geek and a wallflower. I joke that I was like a mix of Matilda, and Olive from "Little Miss Sunshine" .. earlier on, I really would dress try-hard "funky", and sing in front of the mirror to the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Ace of Base, with my buck teeth and my chubby belly.
Because of bullying at school, I eventually developed a lot of insecurity and self doubt, and didn't think I'd amount to much. I had just a few friends, who were also rather strange like myself, and other than that I was really in my own world, until later on, as an older teenager, when I learned how to better play by social rules. However, it was tiring, and confusing, and I relied too heavily on self medicating, which was then a problem. Retreating back into my solaces was something I felt I could never really get enough of.
Though my experience an an autistic person hasn't been easy, and has caused me much pain, difficulty and grief throughout my life (mostly because of being in a world that, for the most part, doesn't understand) I am not ashamed of being autistic, and I'm proud of the gifts it has given me. This would especially include my music. I think my music composition abilities come from the way that I think. In fact, i know they do!
However, things got tough as a verbal autistic adult, trying to navigate the healthcare system to get help for the onset of a condition considered very unusual, complex, poorly understood, and lacking in access to the right treatments. The reality of a painfully difficult, oppressive, unequal world, riddled with confusing double standards, unwarranted injustices and (often petty) social conflicts - a world that I didn't fit into (without stress) was profound. It was something that had to be faced and coped with. Then the gradual onset of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome crippling my body made it so much harder. But I have survived through.
I had, and still have, a rough time being acknowledged and treated fairly with my EDS, because it's a condition which is poorly understood by most doctors, and by society. This is why I've had to fundraise in hopes of getting the help I need. This day and age is proving very tough for "zebras" (as people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome call themselves) everywhere. Doctors become intimidated by the uniqueness of EDS, and shut down, not wanting to learn about it or be willing to help. It is even difficult to get a diagnosis.
All this is costing some EDS patients their lives, and it nearly has cost me mine. many of us continue to hang on as we gradually develop grassroots human rights activism movements, to hopefully make change happen. We need Ehlers-Danlos awareness amongst society, so very much. Raising awareness brings public concern which brings fundraising for much needed research. (view a What Is EDS brochure *here*)
In the mean time, I hold on tightly to my work, my music, poetry, blogging, and grassroots type advocacy, to cope. I hold on to the love I have for my family, too. My boys. I have always turned to what I love most, my passions, to cope with the pain of this incredibly difficult illness itself, and the situational depression associated with it, which I openly admit to battling with.
My music and mission are what keeps me going, what keep my hope for change alive. It represents my own dream, which is for world change, for social change, and to be a part of this through my own brand of Artivism. In spite of it all I love life, am larger than life, and I am grateful to be living and breathing today. I am really living to dream in the best way I can. I do what I call 'steal joy' - seize opportunity as I can, when I feel better enough, to take in some things that I love and am able to do; hanging out with my kids and/or hubby and watching shows or movies, cook something nice, taking a walk in nature, going to the beach or mountains, collecting and fashion, dress up, creative cosplay etc. It's not always that i can do that stuff but I do what I can of it. I hope I can continue to "live to dream" and to be here for my loved ones. I hope to keep being able to share my message, and most of all, I hope that I might reach the right help for my quality of life to increase.
I believe that Artivism - the use of various forms or art as a vehicle for activism and advocacy - can be such a powerful an beautiful way to propel diplomatic, and even peaceful, change. I now share with you my own brand of it, as Dreamerqueen.
I hope that my music and the messages in the lyrics may inspire you, give you hope, help you to (as I like to say) 'steal joy', and of course, make you want to dance!
Love and Light
- Rose G.