A new Season
Singer/songwriter overcomes injuries, disease to play music again
Season Braswell is sitting on a wide piano bench in her Chico apartment, legs folded to one side, joking about how her father came up with the name “Season.”
“I think he’s a closet hippie, but he’ll never admit it,” the singer/songwriter says with a smile.
Braswell goes on to explain that she was named after Season Hubley, the longtime television actress who played a young girl battling a terminal illness in the made-for-TV movie She Lives! The story inspired her father, who thought the name would give her strength. Little did he know.
Season, who now goes only by her first name, is a stunning woman—light-green eyes, a short, pixie haircut that frames her porcelain doll features. And when she talks about music, her smile extends the width of her face. But Season admits she hasn’t had a lot to smile about in the last few years.
In 2000 the now-25-year-old singer/songwriter was playing to standing-room-only crowds at coffee houses in the Bay Area. Two years later, she was in a hospital fighting for her life.
Season picked up the piano when she was 15 years old and, influenced by artists like Bjork and Tori Amos, began writing her own songs at 19. A year later her father bought her a keyboard, and she began playing shows in the Bay Area.
In November, 2002, Season decided to move to Irvine to pursue her music career. It was at Sing Sing, a club known for its dueling-piano shows, where she asked the pianists if she could play one of her songs. One song turned into three, and audience members were asking Season why she wasn’t in Los Angeles handing out demo tapes.
Two days after the performance, Season was riding with her roommate and another friend, who was driving. It had just rained and the roads were slick. By the time the two realized how fast they were going, the vehicle hydroplaned and swerved into the center divider, striking the passenger side, where Season was sitting. The car spun around three times, and the passenger seat was literally ripped out of the floor board.
Season was taken to a neurologist, who determined that she had suffered brain damage. She couldn’t stay awake for more than four hours at a time and was having difficulty with fine motor skills and articulation. More important, she couldn’t play piano like she once had.
As if that weren’t enough, Season was also diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. Through 2003 and part of 2004, She was in and out of hospitals receiving treatment for what she calls “flare-ups,” during which her white blood cells would attack her intestines.
She was fed through an I.V. and took steroids to treat the inflammation of her intestines. It was so bad at one point that she couldn’t keep even water down and began to lose weight.
“As my stepmother said, ‘I was circling the drain,'” Season said. “Basically, I was dying.”
Because of her weakening state, doctors told Season to stay with family, and in April 2004 she moved to Paradise. Several times over the next few months the disease appeared to go into remission, only to flare up again.
“I thought I wasn’t going to make it,” she said. “I thought I was going to live a half-life.”
But in August 2004 she was given a new medication, and in a matter of days the disease went into remission. The flare-ups stopped, and she began to eat soft food again.
Now, seven months since her last episode, Season is once again playing music.
Season undergoes strength and endurance rehabilitation. And every two months she receives an infusion of the medication that keeps the Crohn’s disease in remission. She knows it will take time before she regains full strength. But one thing she’s learned through her experience is patience.
“My life goal has always been balance,” Season says. “It’s just a matter now of getting that back.”