The Power of Words
Since I was old enough to hold a pen, writing has been my go-to strategy for recording and reflecting on life. As a child and teen, I journaled and wrote poems, prose, and stories. In college and law school, I added lyric writing as well. However, with the exception of a few poems and a law review article, I didn't publish or share my writing beyond family and close friends.
And then I stopped.
I didn't make a conscious decision to stop writing. To be honest, I didn't even notice its absence. One day I was pouring my thoughts out onto paper and then I wasn't. Work was busy. Family was busy. Life was busy!
Then, in 2018, much to my surprise, words started flowing again. They came in the form of song lyrics with lyrical melodies. Within three months, I had written five new songs.
The Power of Music
I picked up my first guitar before I entered first grade. I still remember strumming the "Happy Birthday" song at my own birthday party while friends and family sang along. I liked playing the guitar, but was envious of friends with a piano. In third grade, my mom gave me a choice: guitar or piano. I chose piano. I played through high school and picked it up again during law school (mostly to compose music for the lyrics I was writing).
And then I stopped.
Much like with writing, I didn't make a conscious decision to stop playing. I simply stopped. One day I was plucking out the melody to a new song and the next, my keyboard was in the attic gathering dust.
Then, in 2018, after words in the form of song lyrics started flowing again, I found myself in the oddly familiar, yet irregular, position of plucking out the melody to a new song on my keyboard.
Journey Into Song Production
Whether to mark meaningful moments, to entertain and motivate or as background, music has always been in my life. But it was always other people's music. That changed in the summer of 2018. With old and new songs sitting in folders (both paper and virtual), I set off in search of a way to produce and share my own songs.
Luckily, I found 5050Songs in New York City. What started as a simple online inquiry developed into a solid musical partnership. I would send "the team" a batch of lyrics with melodies, we'd confer on the best alternative for a "next" song, they would create the instrumentals and we would distribute each song together. The process was easy and rewarding. Within a year, we produced nine songs together. Do I have a favorite song? Of course I do, but I'll never tell! Mostly, it was like magic watching my lyrics and melodies come to life.
In 2019, I began to yearn for a bigger role in the creative process. I was composing (and I use that term loosely) music on my keyboard to accompany my newest songs and I wanted to contribute to the instrumental aspect of production. One day a songwriting friend suggested I contact Producer Jeff Silverman (Palette Music) in Nashville. The rest is history. After a single phone call, I knew our personalities matched and we started collaborating. To date, we have worked to produce three of my songs - Sunlight Fades, Etched With Fire and A New Story. Jeff, a talented musician and producer, has taught me an enormous amount about the music industry and is a mentor and friend. Excitingly, Sunlight Fades was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award within weeks of its release (2019, Adult Contemporary/AAA). It gets better! Etched With Fire has also been nominated for a 2020 HMMA (Adult Contemporary/AAA)! Wish us luck.
Folks often ask why I don't sing my own songs. My short answer is "I do - all.the.time!" What I haven't done, yet, is produced a song as lead vocalist. Maybe some day? In the meantime, I will be singing and sharing some of my works in progress through informal videos. It will be a challenge for me to share in this more personal way, but I welcome it.
What's next? I have written a whole bundle of new songs exploring a broad range of topics including boundaries, friendship, grief, faith and empowerment. So, stay tuned!