You gotta know there are angels lining up by your side…
I’m very lucky to have been surrounded by creative young souls for many years. My teen consultants have been of great assistance whenever I’m at the drawing board. Their humor and grace have also helped me stay light at heart. I refer to them as angels on this page because I know I’ve been blessed by every songbird who’s ever danced across my path.
I often have teens stand beside me at the piano as I’m finalizing songs. After all, they are the ones whose voices I’m writing for. The melody needs to enhance the tone of their voices and vice versa. What key we record in is important too. We always try on at least a few. Lyrically, a simple choice of word can make a huge difference in the total appeal of a song. Some vowels are awkward to sing upon. I avoid those if I can. Others are beautiful and warm, making it easy to sing fluidly. Our favorites!
Teens are adorably honest. “Yep – that word.” “Eww – not!” “That speaks to my soul.” “I sound prettier when you just move that one note.” “How do you always know what we’re feeling? It’s awesome, but also a little annoying. I can’t hide from you!” “I love your voice when you sing rock. It’s amazing. I want to sing like that. I hate it when you sing pretty. It’s too pretty. Ugh. I prefer your rock voice.” lol, tell me what you really think.
honest faces belonging to teens I’m very fond of
Here’s a sample of how a song comes to life…
Janna needs a song to record. We don’t have a ‘save the world’ song yet, so I’m thinking maybe I should get to work writing a self esteem save-the-world combo tune. I happen upon a photo of Einstein that makes me smile. I think to myself, “The man played the violin. This could work.”
Below is the photo of Einstein in case you’ve forgotten what his face looks like. The kids behind him are part of a lesson video we shot much later. Honestly, I don’t even remember when. I just thought this combo was cute. Modern kids / old guy kind of thing. Yes, always mixing things up.
Janna and I play around with octaves. They sound amazing on her voice, so I plant octaves into the chorus. She has an exuberant personality, so I write her attitude in too. We invite Anna to record the second verse because she’s just too sweet and cool a human not to include. Also, ‘Janna and Anna’ just sounds cute to say out loud. That might come in handy someday. Here’s a photo of beautiful Anna.
When we create the song video, we throw in dancers in front of the Eiffel. I’ve just been to Paris. Might as well use the sweet footage we have around.
Another Song comes to life…
I wrote Brighter Blue for myself. I even recorded an awesome version of the song with a completely different melody than what we ended up with. The song (version one) fit my voice like a glove showing off all my sweet spots. I was giving myself a treat – highlighting my own voice for a change.
And then I felt guilty.
I sat down, re-wrote the song to make it the kind of song that could be brought to life by many different voices. In other words – my kids. Yep, call me maternal, but it just didn’t seem a song should be just for me.
In the end, Madeline did an amazing job on our simpler new version of the tune. What’s more, her dad joined in. Eric played sax brilliantly at the end making it a family affair. To this day, I’m certain I made the right decision.
When in doubt, I guess I’ll always choose the voice of an angel. How lucky am I to have so many around?