Imogen set up a crowd-sourced song where she let her fans submit sounds, words, photos, and video to help her create the first song on her new album. As a Heap fan, I had already known all about it and had prepared some things to send in
However, all the submission days happened to land on days where I was in Arizona and had little to no internet connection and I missed the deadlines. (bummer, I know.) I realized that I had missed the opportunity and would save my samples for another rainy day.
One day after writing most of the song, she spoke about this chant she imagines this person would recite to persuade themself that everything is going to be okay. They’ll survive.
Then came another day of submissions. This time, it was all about ‘sound seeds’ or different artistic outlets that have been inspired by this song. I wasn’t going to make anything; just enjoy other people’s art and poetry and accept that I wasn’t going to be a part of this one.
(backtracking here for a moment)
My mom had given me my birthday present the day before (a month-and-a-half early - she was too excited to wait). It was a Tibetan singing bowl which looks and sounds like this:
[You strike it like a bell, and then stir with the mallot. The Buddhist monks in Tibet use these for meditation as it resonates quite physically and it ties body and spirit for meaningful connection in their daily prayers.]
I remembered Imogen’s chant line and came up with a little recitative that I thought I’d post simply because I could. I wrote a stanza and worked half the night on getting a good vocal take and mixing different sounds in (humming, whistling, breathing) to make it a textured piece of music. After 5 hours, I went to bed frustrated that it wasn’t any good and that I had spent so long on a piece of crap that nobody would like.
The next day I had to go to work and had nearly given up on it. All day long I thought about it and how I could change it to make it sound like something that someone might like to listen to. I just hoped that the submissions hadn’t been closed for the day.
I mixed and finally felt good enough about it to put it up on the inspiration wall. Not even a minute after it had been posted, the submissions closed.
Here’s the bit - I called it Recitative:
I sort of jokingly posted it on my twitter that night thinking it would get ignored (as things do on the internet). Then my friend Leo posted it in a mention to Imogen. I panicked. I do that sometimes when I feel unsure or a lot of pressure/opportunity is at stake. I scolded him a little.
I woke up to a twitter notification on my phone in the middle of the night. It was from a boy named Sean Ryan, of whom I am a fan. He said with the tweet ‘you inspired me’…
I woke up smiling. I didn’t think it was very good at all, but someone else did.