This time last year I was busy with my 52 Weeks in 2021 project, where I had a goal to post one song each week, no matter what stage it was in. This year my goal was to have at least one song fully produced and released, which I did.
Not long after that one was done, a co-writer and I decided to move forward to produce a song we wrote back in 2019, a holiday song called “Signs of the Season.” We recorded it in a studio in Cottonwood but it was before we learned anything about submitting songs for sync and never received stems or the proper paperwork from the producer.
Since my co-writer, Lisa Hart, wrote the music for the song, I never made a recording of it with my melody, which was a little faster from the way she played it and sang it when we recorded it. Her recording was featured on a holiday show for Women of Substance Radio in November 2020 (Show #1181) but we didn’t do anything else with it.
When she sent the song to another producer this year, he ended up re-recording the guitar and sped it up, which coincidentally fit more with the way I had sung the melody. I was thrilled to hear it since I had never had an opportunity to record my version of the song so we paid a little extra in production for a second vocal track so we could release our own versions. Thank you to producer Matt Moss for producing the song, which I plan to release later this year and to Lisa for helping to bring the song to life again!
This year, I also tried writing songs about the war in Ukraine because it weighed heavily on my mind. The first one, “Wake Up World,” was a result of feeling so hopeless when seeing what was happening there.
I’m so far away, what can I do?
Stories of heartache keep flashing through
If I send a message, sharing thoughts and prayers
Amid the wreckage, will they know someone cares?
Do those in Ukraine whose lives are in danger realize that people around the world are concerned for their wellbeing? As people post their “thoughts and prayers” on social media, would those affected feel comforted or even see those words? What can we do? I also wondered if seeing the devastation would change anything elsewhere. Would it have an impact on how people treat each other? Will it provoke any changes?
Wake up, world
How can you be so cruel?
If I still feel hopeful, does that make me a fool?
Wake up, world
It’s time to face the truth
We need to make some changes
Wake up, world
The next song was called “Glimmer of Hope.” When I brought “Wake Up World” in to a songwriting critique session, I was told that it would be more powerful if I focused on one personal story instead of trying to address the issue globally. So I read some articles to capture individual stories and attempted to write a song that would both tell an individual’s story while also inspiring hope for people going through a difficult time, although I’m not sure if I was successful.
She fit what she could in a backpack
Ran out the door, never looked back
Her city on fire, flames rising higher
Caught in the line of attack
Oh, a glimmer of hope
Lights up the road
Keeps her going
Oh, fueling her soul
A glimmer of hope
May it always keep glowing
She spent three nights on the subway
Prayed it would end by the next day
But missiles kept flying, children were crying
The sky a permanent gray
This is only one story, one life among millions
Darkness descending on innocent civilians
Courage and heartache, loss and sorrow,
May they find strength to get to tomorrow
I’m also working on a meditation-type song that I started writing after walking around in my backyard one morning and I’m also reworking a song I wrote in 2020 and hope to produce that one next. I also wrote a new song on piano but haven’t finished a recording of it yet.
So, I am moving forward but am feeling a little discouraged because the recording process is going so slowly. I did finally write out the chords to the older song and finished restructuring the song and rewriting the second verse, which needed work. Next I need to find the time to record the guitar and vocals, which is a challenge, both with my playing and singing, as well as finding a quiet moment in the house with three kids at home all day and night (camp has ended and school hasn’t started yet) and three dogs (we are dogsitting this week so have an extra dog at home.)
Excuses, excuses, I know, but I look forward to connecting with someone who can translate my recordings into a fully produced hit pop song… (I once saw an interview with Phoebe Bridgers where she said she sits on her bed and writes the lyrics and basic guitar chords for a song, hands them over to a producer who recreates them into a releasable format and I’ve been fantasizing about that…) Until then, I’m trying to improve my guitar playing, my keyboard playing, my vocals and my producing skills and it’s overwhelming.
I also submitted “Our Home” and “Signs of the Season” to a place looking for sync songs but the feedback (which I paid for) was kind but discouraging. The feedback for both songs what that the vocals didn’t sound professional enough. I feel so behind – if I hadn’t quit piano lessons in fifth grade… if I had stuck with guitar lessons and continued the singing lessons… what would I be doing now?
But I can’t go back in time and I don’t want to live with regrets so I’m moving forward. I had planned to try to re-record the vocals and guitar for “Look Up” – which I had mixed and mastered at the end of 2021 – but instead I decided to go ahead and post it on my website and Bandcamp now and then move on to the next song. So if you want to give it some listens, here are the links:
I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll do the full release for Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, etc. I probably will because why not?
Although there are SOOO many songs out there and new ones posted everyday, I don’t know how many people will actually hear my songs or read this post, but if I don’t put the songs out there, then for sure nobody will.