Happy To Be Here

Album: Cherry Marmalade (2002)
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  • Kay Hanley of the Boston alt-rock band Letters To Cleo worked on her solo album, Cherry Marmalade, while she was pregnant with her daughter, Zoe. The experience of being an expectant mother informed many of the tunes on the album, including "Happy To Be Here."

    Hanley told Songfacts the story behind the song: "It was about going to a movie by myself with little baby Zoe in my belly. I went to see this movie called Little Voice. The movie was very much about discovering things about yourself that you didn't know you could do and one of the things I really didn't know I could do was motherhood, and so being pregnant with her was like - what is she gonna be like, what am I gonna be like, what is this whole thing gonna be like? And of course, now I know."
  • Hanley didn't initially plan on recording a solo project, but she had a lot of free time on her hands. After Letters To Cleo finished their Go! tour, her husband/bandmate Michael Eisenstein left for Maui to play guitar on Nina Gordon's Tonight And The Rest Of My Life album. Alone, pregnant, and unable to party with friends, the only logical thing to do was work.

    "I wasn't drinking or smoking or going out with friends. I didn't have anything to do but be creative. These songs just started pouring out of me," she explained.

    Eisenstein joined in on the songwriting when he came home, but it was Cleo producer Mike Denneen who encouraged Hanley to put out her own record.

    "It was incredibly empowering. It felt very natural. It didn't feel difficult or like I was on a mission. It felt very organic. By the time I went in to record the record, Zoe had already been born. I think she was a year old, and she was napping at the studio," she recalled.


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