A month or so ago, I shared a demo of one of my original songs here on the blog. I have 2 other demos posted on SoundCloud (more are coming very soon), and I wanted to take the chance to talk about another one of those songs, “The Quiet One.”
Like the first song I shared, “Can’t Let Go of This,” “The Quiet One” was written primarily as an assignment for a Songwriting class I took here at BYU last year. It was our big “final song” assignment, meant to reflect the things we had learned all semester in the class. We had a few opportunities to workshop our songs and make them better, really plan them out well, and then make a solid demo. We were also able to submit our songs for consideration for the Songwriters’ Showcase, a concert held every semester to highlight some of the songs/students from the Songwriting classes. I was fortunate enough to be picked to perform “The Quiet One” in the Showcase.
The idea for “The Quiet One” had actually been floating around in my head for quite some time–even before I left for my mission, in fact. The way the chorus plays a bit off the old saying, “It’s always the quiet one(s)” was a main feature of the song essentially from the very beginning. I played a rough idea of said chorus over and over in my head for probably about 2 years or so (including, yes, many times while I walked the streets of Peru) before I got around to fleshing out and finishing the idea for my final song project back last October. Lots of elements I already had in mind stayed pretty much the same in the finished version, though the verses, bridge, and where the song ended up in general were very much things that evolved naturally from the pieces that I already had, rather than things I already had in mind.
Like “Can’t Let Go of This,” this song is pretty autobiographical, though I wouldn’t say it’s exactly all me, per se. I would call it a reflection of my own personal journey rather than a retelling. I grew up incredibly shy, and these past few years, I feel like I’ve really started coming out of my shell in a lot of ways, and I do feel like I’ve changed from being OK just as “the quiet one” to truly wanting something more and stepping out into the spotlight. One of my roommates who came to see me in the Songwriters’ Showcase christened the song “the introvert’s anthem,” which I think fits it really well. (Feel free to describe it to your friends as such.)
When it came time to record the demo, I had a basic piano part sketched out, but it wasn’t sounding that great, so I enlisted the help of someone else in the class, Chris Morgan, a Commercial Music major and musical jack of all trades. (He sings. He writes. He plays tons of instruments. He knows his way around a recording studio. Basically, he rocks.) He was able to massage the clunky piano part I had written into a very easy, natural accompaniment that really helped my song shine, and he also made the recording part a breeze. The vocal was done in only 2 takes–what you hear is one half of one take, and one half of another. (Once again, I can’t even remember where one take ends and one begins. Ah, the power of mixing.) Chris also played piano for me for the Showcase performance, and did a terrific job there as well. Listening to the recording I have of that, I sound a little more nervous and shaky than I’d like (and I vividly recall my leg involuntarily trembling for some odd reason as I performed), but it turned out alright, and I had a great time singing.
Hopefully you enjoy the song, and hopefully at least some of this background information was interesting to you as well. See you soon with more great music (including some more of my original songs a bit down the road), including Harmony Avenue’s annual Christmas music celebration this month! Thanks for reading and listening.