So so close to the finish of the challenge. It makes me quite sad to think this is all coming to an end soon.
But let’s not dwell on negativity. It’s been a good week.
Just wrapped up production and approvals on my song for Week 6. For this one, the directive came from Cara Heath – owner of With A Bullet, a radio promotion company. Her brief was to create a new song that would work currently at either Pop (Hot AC or CHR) or Rock (Alternative or Active Rock) Radio formats. The choice of the two was ours but her challenge was for us to write this song to be around 4 mins in length. Then we were to edit it down to no more than 3:30 mins while still retaining the essence, dynamics, and structure of the song. I chose Pop.
For this challenge I teamed up with Toronto jazz singer, Julie Mahendren. I had loved her voice from the first time I heard it so I was thrilled to be able to work with her. We worked very efficiently – I pitched her a concept and some lyrics, which she liked. I sent her some references for the sound I was looking to create (Frank Ocean, Janelle Monae, The Weeknd) and we were off. She sent her vocals and piano melody. We played with the chords and structure. I built a scaffolding to hold the song, Julie added a cool synth line. I fleshed out the production, Julie sent more vocals, harmonies, more harmonies, choruses, ad libs – I have never used so many tracks in GarageBand before. My machine was groaning under the strain. And I’m using one of those old pull-start, gasoline-powered mac computers, so it was touch and go – as you can imagine.
There were a few long nights but by Monday 2pm EST, we were done. And here it is.
Much thanks to Julie for being such an able and fun co-writer.
And while I am on the subject of gratitude, that these past weeks have been such a pleasure is due mainly to the people with whom I have met, corresponded and/or collaborated. Particularly Mikalyn Hay, Scott MacKay, Craig McIvor, Braeden Mitchell and especially Adri-Anne Ralph and Kathryn Berry. The last two wonderful songwriters (and killer vocalists) bore the brunt of my learning curve as we worked together in the first two weeks of the challenge. There were many others of course who wrote songs I loved, helped answer my questions and just provided friendly conversation. So thanks to all of you Challenganians, I’ll miss this greatly.
And in case you are curious, here is the long version of this week’s song.