This links to the YouTube page.
See earlier blog post: Patriotism-expressed in song
Anatomy of a song:
Well, this is the culmination of about three years worth of work. As I told in the earlier story, we were leaving a Branson show, perhaps three years ago. And I’d heard the same patriotic song, ending number, just one time too many. I love Branson, and love the way music is presented, but I said, “Someone needs to write a new patriotic song.” So, I did (along with the help of some talented co-writers).
Then, once you write the song, you let it gel…at least that’s my process. Then you forget it. Then you come back to it with fresh eyes. Then you tweak it. Then you take it to your co-writers and let them polish it. Then, you figure out the musicality of it–how to perform it, arrange it, sing it. Where do you breathe? Where do you pause? Where do you bring the full dynamics?
Then, you record it. My demos at my home studio….not even close to adequate. Real recording studio: check!
Then you take that track home and edit it (thanks to the amazing and wonderful talent at the recording studio who made the track sooo much better–Yay for the cello.) Then you tweak it some more. Then you re-write a line that’s probably gonna get you in trouble down the road. Back to the studio to recut that line. Edit some more. Finally, you think you’re done.
Send in the paperwork for the copyright to be registered.
Pitch it to maybe eight Branson shows, hoping someone will perform it. No dice (at least not yet!)
You talk with business partner about making music video. Make plans for video. Then that falls thru. Argh!
Discover you made two mistakes in the copyright paperwork (it was the first time I’d done an online registration. I am more used to the old school–paper registrations.) Decide to wait till the paperwork gets lined out.
A few more months go by, but you’re still sitting on the track. But, the few times you’ve gotten up your gumption, and let people hear it…perhaps 15 people, you get a good response.
Copyright paperwork finally comes in! So, it’s time to let this one go. Send it out to the world.
Back to the recording studio, and with a tiny, hesitant voice, ask the engineer to edit it one more time. (He was sooo sweet about it.)
Okay. We have a FINAL TRACK!
Gee, I’d love a video shot of the Statue of Liberty. I really, really don’t want to spend the gas money to drive to NYC to shoot a five minute video. There has to be stock footage somewhere, right? But, I have no desire to PAY for stock footage. I’ve got to find a way to build this my-own-self.
So, I’m driving down the street in the next big town over, and what do I see?
On a street I’ve driven down literally thousands of times, finally I notice….
…that they have a tiny replica of the Statue of Liberty. Gee, how can I frame this, without the trees and buildings, (which would show I’m soooo NOT in NYC.)
Hope and pray for a day with blue skies, not cloudy skies. Go out and shoot video.
Gee, it’s cold outside, and the wind! [This is why they pay me the big bucks…] WAIT. Screech! There’s no pay involved. I’m doing this purely for love, for creativity, because, dammit–as an artist – I have something to say!!!
Come home. [I’m so grateful to be working indoors out of that dratted wind.] Download video footage. Work it in the lesser video software that I’m more used to. (I need to use my newest video editing software, but it’s just too much to learn and deal with, and gee..I really, really want this project to go out to the world.)
Upload to YouTube. Send the link to my creativity inner circle.
Then you deal with the emotional fallout. I should feel joy. Joy that this project is complete. Happiness that I worked hard and I have something to show for my efforts. There is that, but there is so much ambivalence to this process. Worry, nerves, anxiety. Confidence hasn’t been much of a problem for me in the past. Every artist has to have enough ego to say, “My work matters!” Still, one doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
This, THIS, is my life’s work. Music, singing, writing, recording, videography, performance, presentation. Here I stand, on the precipice. It’s a form of leaping off of a cliff.
The thing is…this above essay….that’s just ONE project. One out of hundreds of songs. One out of thousands of projects in my head (art, painting, drawing, music, books, manuscripts, stage plays, acting characters, videos, films, movies, performances…). There is still soooo much creativity out there to do.
Back to the grindstone!