Merrill Garbus found her stride, and her kaleidoscopic sound, when she stopped chasing after everyone’s approval.

Huck's Fiftieth Special collects lessons learned and creative advice from fifty of the most inspiring people we know. Each day we'll be sharing a new excerpt from the magazine. Today, Merrill Garbus explains how she found her stride, and her kaleidoscopic sound, when she stopped chasing after everyone’s approval.

#2 - tUnE-yArDs

tUnE-yArDs, founded in the late 2000s by native New Englander Merrill Garbus, is the definition of joyous cacophony. Together with partner Nate Brenner, the band’s music is an intriguing mish-mash of ukulele riffs, looped beats, propulsive percussion, fluid bass lines, and full-throated howls. Visually, Garbus trends toward the riotously kaleidoscopic, rocking face paint on stage and punching up tUnE-yArDs’ imagery to retina- scalding levels. Here, Garbus explains how letting go helped her hit her stride:

“Is it personally gratifying to succeed in the face of criticism? No, it’s terrifying still. I wish that I could be so confident about my future and myself and turn away so easily from negative criticism. There are always people who really don’t like this stuff, and as a perfectionist, that hurts. I really have this vision that I can get every single person in the whole wide world to like my music. But again, as I get older and mature in this industry, I realise the championship is really just creating more work. Letting go of all the fear around what people think about me. And having a dialogue with people. Like, ‘So my cultural appropriation is offensive to you? Let’s dig into that conversation.’ But if anything ever gets me to stop making music, then I’ve truly lost.” 

This is just a short excerpt from Huck’s Fiftieth Special, a collection of fifty personal stories from fifty inspiring lives. 

Grab a copy now to read all fifty stories in full. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss another issue.