The Orange Purple Yellow Song

This is my latest song, about a guy and a girl, and another guy, with rather colourful names.  I wrote this song in one evening, music, melody and lyrics.  That hasn’t happened in a very long time.  Enjoy!

Download the full album for free.

Burn yellow train inside
Look blind and hide

Orange say you bite
French fry
Overnight if the sunrise

Purple mane on high
Red light
Orange with plight

Yellow ball of white
Stay dry
Tie the magenta kite right
Flip under weight and die
Tear sheet safe flight

Orange leave your sight
And sigh
Watercrest with the moonrise

Purple taking flight
They cry
Carpet stain pile

Yellow being like
They lied
Keep the hurricane mile high

Brave Daughters

I had a strong reaction to the 2012 gang rape case in India, which made international headlines in December. Revolted as I was from the crime, equally unsettling was the call from the Indian public for violent retribution upon the accused (not yet tried or convicted) men. I read several articles from different sources, and found one piece of news very compelling.  The father of the victim told the media to stop referring to her as a “rape victim” and rather as a “brave daughter.”

I first wrote the lyrics, taking the viewpoint of the friend who was also victimized in this case. I knew I wanted the words to come across with anger and passion, and I looked to Nine Inch Nails for sonic inspiration. I don’t think I got quite to the level of intensity of Mr. Self Destruct, but hey, I’m not Trent Reznor, nor do I really want to be. But it’s nice to have a reference to work to.

Have a listen below, and see the lyrics below the player.

Download the full album for free.

We went out for the night
We’re not looking to fight
A violation on our ride
A crime you don’t care to hide

What harm do you see?
In the freedom that we
In a brand new milieu
We choose to pursue

Brave daughters
Victims of sons
Fathers in tears
What have we DONE!?

They are blind and mute
No voices to refute
The power you yield
Impossible to shield

Anger in the streets
Calls for your defeat
An eye for an eye
Makes us all blind

Brave daughters
Did you no wrong
Why punish them all
For what you have DONE!?

Hayley Stewart-Moran

hayley-stewart-moranI’ve been working for a few weeks now with a local singer-songwriter named Hayley.  This work is quite unique in that Hayley has written lyrics and melodies, but no music, even though she plays ukulele and cello.  So as she repeatedly sings her melodies, I hammer out some piano parts, with the help of a tuner to know for sure what notes she’s singing.

Her songs have a laid back, jazzy feel, with big-band choruses and lyrics reflecting her experiences from a recent trip overseas.  Hayley is planning on releasing an EP with 12 songs in total.

For some of the songs, she’ll be adding some cello, and I will be adding some percussion and horns on keyboard.

So far it’s been a pleasure working with Hayley!

I Am

It’s been more than 25 years since I started writing music, and over 10 that I’ve been writing songs with my own lyrics. This is my very first published song for which I did my own singing (thank goodness for pitch correction).

I Am started out as the lyrics to accompany the music I had written for Brand New Door.  After mulling over feedback I received at a songwriter’s meetup group, I decided to rip apart the lyrics and music and create two new songs instead.

I took a different approach to writing the melody for I Am.  Normally, I would develop a melody on keyboard, then hand it off to a singer to finish off the track. This time, I laid down the music bed and developed a melody by simply singing whatever came to me. I intended to provide a “real” singer with my scratch track to base their performance on. However, my friend Sunny (who song Brand New Door for me) convinced me that my phrasing and tenor fit the song better than his, and more importantly, that he could pitch correct my performance for me.

So I gave the vocal another shot, and as it turned out, my new track required fewer corrections than my scratch track. Kudos to me! Sunny sent me the corrected version, and I added a touch of vocoding and synthesized harmony.

The lyric is a critical take on religion and spirituality, with a west vs. east structure.  I figure if I’m going to sing my own songs, may as well start off with something light ;).

Download the full album for free.

I am ethereal
Without matter and formless
At once essential
And vague omnipresence

I’m all the unknown
And all false certainty
A captor to your thoughts
A source of fear and doubt

Between subject and object
Between matter and form
Between the earth and sky
Should we accept the norm?

I am the observer
To all your bias
I’m the divider
To body and mind

I am the passion and the poet
I convey all breath and being
I perceive and I conceive
A world of emptiness

Between something and nothing
Between the ego and id
Between nature and nurture
Is your self well hid?

Brand New Door

This is my latest original song, although it has been a long time coming. This song started as a piano part over 5 years ago, for which I fully intended to add lyrics, so I wrote it with a verse/chorus structure. I then wrote lyrics and a melody, but didn’t have anyone perform the vocal track for me.

So it sat for a few years until I presented it at a Songwriter’s Cafe meetup, with the melody played on a synth and me reading the lyrics to the group. The group feedback was fairly unanimous in that the reflective, introspective lyrics and the poppy, up-beat music didn’t really jive well together. Upon some reflection, I decided to tear the two apart, and write new lyrics for the music and new music for the lyrics.

I tackled the new lyrics first, and wrote a more straight-forward, positive lyric. The new lyrics made me want to include a new introduction that was darker, both lyrically and musically. I also wrote a new bridge.

I had a couple of people try to sing it with limited success. Finally my friend, singer-songwriter Sunny Zaman, took a crack at the vocals and did a fantastic job! So here is the final version. Enjoy and thanks Sunny!

I had wandered in the darkness
Drifted from the shores of self-assurance
Been beat into submission of my soul
But climbed my way back

I’ve hung up my hang ups
My shell’s been cracked
Re-imagined my image
And got my back back

I’ve scared off my fears
Showed off my show
Voiced my inner voice
Owned up to all I owe

It’s a new life
Like I had before
But this new life
Opens up a brand new door

Seen eleven fingers
from the front row
Looks like the pieces fit
Baby it’s a whole new show

I’m singin’ my new song
With some help from friends
Seeing my world get bigger
Got me a brand new lens

Looking back now
It’s all so clear
Listen to your heart
Even when your brain won’t hear

It’s a new life
Like I had before
But this new life
Opens up a brand new door

Under My Shell

I fooled around with a dance-rock groove with spoken word song several years ago, but never really liked the production I did or the way I performed the spoken word.

I presented my updated song at the Songwriter’s Cafe meetup group and it was very well received.  One comment from the group stood out for me: one member said how at first, she was taken by the dance club feel of the track, but as the song progressed, her attention shifted to anticipating what lyric came next.  Great feedback!

Download the full album for free.

This is the revisited version of Under My Shell:

I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting here
I’ve always heard be brave don’t fear
My forclaw twitches begs me to start
For what I face I have not the heartNor the nerves or the senses
Nor do I have the defenses

To my left the hot land stretches out
To my right no end with no doubt

Slowly I peer out from under my shell
How far is the other side I cannot tell

All these creatures rumble before me
I cross my eyes and all is blurry

They move with much speed but no grace
On their big black feet they race and race

I’ve never seen such reckless haste
And a greater challenge I’ve never faced

Stepping out slowly but surely
With great dignity I tread
And as the wind rushes by me
I know in seconds I’ll be dead

These creatures they barrel down
Down upon me they seem to frown

For this rush what is the cost
In this hot grey land I am lost

No place for the likes of me
But I was too stupid to see

Feelings of foolish pride give way
To feelings of fear and dismay

I wish to be back inside my shell
This day I must live to tell

No protection it will give me now
All over me these creatures will plow

Shatter the shell I hold so dear
Only now is my error so clear

In the end I feel only nothing
To the memory of a shell I cling

Stepped out slowly but surely
Through madness I fell
Oh I wish I would’ve stayed
Stayed safe under my shell