The singer/songwriter is Priscilla Ahn and this is a song she wrote when she was younger. She did not necessarily want to release it - it was very personal, maybe too personal. But Ahn was a fan of both the original book as well as of Studio Ghibli films in general. When she heard Ghibli was making a film version - knowing the themes of the book - she submitted her song to the Studio. It's quiet and introspective, and it has really grown on me.
And Studio Ghibli eventually chose it as the theme song for the film.
I think it was pretty audacious for her to submit it, and that is the real point of this post. My guess is - she never thought they would select it. They had never used a song in English before - why would they do it for this film? But she sent it in. Her personal song, that she avoided releasing, because it fit so well with the inward and melancholic perspectives that run through the film. And Ghibli saw that and made it their own.
I can relate to Ahn's belief in herself, attempting something with very little real hope of success. Heck - I went to get a degree in Mythological Studies. And I consistently try and find my way in to the things I want to be involved with. One project in particular I am working on that I really have no idea of how to get it done - but I'll be posting about it soon because I really believe in it.
But this isn't about me. It is about the effect a story like Ahn's should have on everyone. It should be an example and give everyone the spark they need to submit - to try - to poke your nose in somewhere you want to be - and see what happens.
It may turn out that you belong there.
Here is a pretty cool short essay that Priscilla Ahn wrote about her love of Ghibli films.