You Mean Everything To Me - An Original Composition

Sarie and I
Sarie and I

It isn't often that you get to do something very special for someone, and for me, I find it very difficult to find anything original to do. Chocolates and cards, and flowers, and pictures... It's all been done before!

But I do have a particular talent that I discovered before even taking any music lessons - I had an ear for music and was able to pick melodies out of my head and create something new. I didn't realize it at the time, but not everyone has this ability. So, for the last 30+ years, I have been writing songs, on and off.

There have been times where the songwriting has slowed, and even stopped (there was a period of about 15 years where I couldn't come up with anything new!), but every so often the inspiration hits me again.

How I Write the Songs

I don't know how most people do it - I have never sat down with anyone and attempted to create a song with them - so I know only what I do. Often, it entails something as simple as sitting at the piano or keyboard and playing a few random notes. From there, a song will unfold itself in my head out of nothing. Other times, I will be walking, doing dishes, or eating a sandwich and either a tune will pop into my head, or the tune plus lyrics. I never know when it will happen, and there have been times that I have lost what I thought would be an amazing song because I was not in a position to write anything down or get any tune from my head to any medium that I could use to later build on it.

For this particular song, I had been listening to some music on the radio, and was getting into the sounds that were being used - namely, the artist's voice. Now, I don't mean that they were singing, but they were using their voice as an instrument! Listen to some of Justin Timberlake's music and you will maybe hear what I mean. He often beatboxes or creates percussion parts with his voice, and I love the way that sounds!

So, while the rhythmic parts were there in the song, after I turned off the radio, I could hear a tune in my head. It was my own voice, and it was just a single part of a song. I thought about the song I'd just been listening to and realized it was not that; my head had gone elsewhere and picked out a new tune.

I thought over this little progression in my head for a bit, and committed it to memory. It wasn't much, just a C, G-B, G-A, A, B, C progression that I thought could be a nice start to a song.

From there, I heard the harmonizing part of it and realized I could create an a capella song for my Sarie for our anniversary! I got home and wrote down a few words, and it started to take shape. Then, a few days later, I had forgotten the tune, and had to figure it out from memory and actually write down some notes to keep track of. Within a couple of days, the song was built and I needed to record it!

The Recording Process

I have a rather old computer, and the only music software I have ever owned is Cakewalk Sonar XL version 1 (purchased in 2000, I believe). I have lost the disc and no longer have any means to install it on the computer, so I tried a variety of free and free-to-try DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), but ultimately with the USB microphone I have, it turned out that I was not able to do what I had wanted.

Normally when I record a song, I start with a percussion backbeat of some sort just to help me keep time to lay down bass parts, rhythm parts (piano, strings, pads, etc.), then some lead if needed, and finally add the vocals. My current setup is pretty limited, and since the software I was trying was not working out, I had to come up with other options.

With time running out, I decided I would not be able to do what I had wanted, creating an a capella version of the song, so I had to switch gears. It was at this point I discovered that I don't know the workings of these free pieces of software, and wasn't able to record the song as planned. So, I simply wrote it, practised it, and on our anniversary I played it.

It has been a few weeks since our anniversary now, but Sarie had asked me to share a video of the song to YouTube, so I set up the camera, took a couple of test runs to make sure that the lighting was adequate, and that I was fully in the frame. I recorded it, then uploaded it to YouTube and she seems quite pleased with the result. I am linking it below. I hope you enjoy this little piece of my mind, translated into musical form.

Cheers!

-- Slyde

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