My Music: “Can’t Let Go of This”

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This past weekend, Harmony Avenue turned 5 years old! It’s crazy to think that the blog has been around that long, and I’m happy to have been able to stick with this in some form for all these years (excepting, of course, the 2 that I served a mission in Peru). As always, thank you so much for reading and visiting.

Something I haven’t done in a while here is share my own music. Last year I took a songwriting class here at BYU. It really helped me grow and develop a songwriter, and realize that I can actually do this whole original-songs thing. As a result of both that class and me putting together my application for the BYU Commercial Music program last year, I had the chance to record 3 of my songs. (I’ll hopefully be working on more songs in the coming months as I apply for the program once more in January.) I already shared these songs on SoundCloud a few months ago, but I wanted to take the chance to share each one of them again, and also give a little background on how the writing/recording process went, while hopefully not giving away too much of the “magic.”

The first song I wrote in my songwriting class last year was called “Can’t Let Go of This.” I won’t go much into what the song “means” or “is about” or what have you. I feel like it speaks for itself for the most part. (I will say that it is fairly autobiographical.)

What is a bit interesting is how the song came about. It was written for our first songwriting project, where we had to write a “model song”…a song with the same structure–lines, number of syllables in each line, and verse/chorus organization–as an established song. The chords, lyrics, and melody were of course supposed to be different. This was meant to help us get the feel of song structure and the songwriting process in general. I had a really hard time deciding on a “model song” at first. Finally, just to try it out, I settled on “Someone Like You,” by Adele. I was kind of treading water for a bit after that, looking for somewhere to go, until I ran across a lyrical idea I had jotted down in the Notes on my iPhone, and ran with that. Then the melody started coming and evolving a bit, and before I knew it the song had pretty much come together. (It always amazes me how fast the songwriting process can be. Emphasis on can.) I was afraid that it would end up too close to Adele’s song, but when I performed it in class, people were surprised to find out what the “model song” had been. Heck, I was surprised that it ended up where it did.

A week or two after we were done with our assignment, my teacher recommended me to a Commercial Music student (Scott Shattuck) who was in need of a song to produce for one of his projects. I had never done any formal recording, so I was a bit nervous about how it would go, but it ended up being a really great experience, and I got an excellent demo out of it. Scott reharmonized some of the chords, which really made the song come alive. He also added a violinist and some synth sounds into the production, which turned out really nicely. Basically, he rocked it.

A few fun facts about my singing on the track: First off, I was on the tail end of a cold when it came time to lay down the vocal, which made for some…creative moments in the booth. Something else that even I forget when I listen to the demo, and a real testament to Scott’s mixing skills, is that my vocal is actually stitched together from the best moments of a few different takes (5, if I remember right). Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I kept having some weird pronunciation issues pop up throughout the takes. Scott did a good job covering those up, though if you listen really closely and/or know where they are like I do, you’ll hear some weird words here and there. In the future, I’ll work to get my brain and my mouth communicating a little better. 🙂

It’s great to share a little bit of my music with you all. Stay tuned in the future, as always, for more great songs, including a few more by yours truly. Here’s to another happy year of posting!

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