In my previous blog post Collaboration-Wanderlust EP I mentioned that I would write more about my process for the upcoming EP and so I thought to start with its title track Wanderlust.
When Paul told me in February 2021 that he had almost finished composing the music for the EP I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into. In fact, when he emailed me the WIP orchestral version of Wanderlust (there are two versions of the title track on the EP), I registered all that it was with great surprise because it was orchestral and had a choir. I didn’t expect this, especially seeing how the music I write is more indie rock-Ish, but it didn’t faze me either, I found it rather inspiring.
Wanderlust came across to me as a piece that unlocked “chambers” in the mind as it progressed. Its beauty and complexity unraveled a series of emotions in me. I loved that about it. At this point in the process, its language was communicated through its instrumentation, digital choir and a vowel driven vocal passage that Paul created with the use of a vocal library.
I spoke to Paul shortly after listening to make sure I fully understood his vision. He told me that Wanderlust unravels an adventure prompted by feelings of being trapped and using our imagination for brief escapism before finally returning to the no-so-exciting day-today reality we all face. We concluded our conversation when he told me to write/interpret lyrics as I see fit and basically perform what I felt would be best suited for the piece. This carte blanche turned out to be quite a memorable adventure for me.
Wanderlust was unlike any song I had ever sung before and wrote lyrics to. It contained a choir, a vowel driven agile vocal passage that I felt was reminiscent of spell sung by a mystical princess and a musical structure dense with orchestral arrangement of piano, violins, horns, drums, ethnic flutes as well as digital sounds. With Wanderlust I needed to break down and interpret the vocal passages that existed and create new lyric driven ones that stayed true to both our styles. I wanted to compliment and amplify what was there to encourage the epic journey behind the song. Lyrically I needed to find a balance of vocals and lyrics that prevented the song from sounding like a rock opera or a musical theatre piece which was not our intention at all.
I wrote the following lyrics.
Need to see Need to be Beyond what's in front of me Beyond Solis Contingunt, Ultra Now I can feel euphoria Above the horizon I can touch the sun Staring at my ceiling Used my ticket to the sky My wings touched the sun
I thought these lyrics put words to the story behind the music and allowed for a multitude of interpretations all depending on the listener. I found euphoria as a concept to be on point. Its symbolism, the infinite means that can be taken to attain it and the journey into achieving its sensation can be related to wanderlust. I especially felt this concept worked seeing how the music was written with the intention of telling a story that unravels adventure prompted by feelings of being trapped and using imagination for escapism before returning to “reality”.
I wrote in the Latin verse Solis Contingunt, Ultra because I thought it would add depth to the vowels sounds that Paul handed over to me.
I don’t speak Latin, I simply typed in “Touch the Sun” and “Beyond” in Google translate and there it was.
Paul was into the idea and from that point I created the vocal passages/splits of the entire SATB choir and sung them all in my little home studio closet (44 + tracks of me). I knew that harmonizing with concrete words would allow for a tighter more powerful choir. I took on the vocal arrangements for Wanderlust over a period of several days as each one required a particular singing style and mood.
There are two versions of the title track Wanderlust on the EP. There is the orchestral/choir version and a very soulful/dreamy/intimate acoustic piano version. The acoustic version to me is like laying on freshly cut grass on a beautiful summer day and watching a few clouds pass in the blue sky. It makes me want to “go higher” to find outwardly beauty all the while taking in the “simple things”. In the case of the acoustic version, the simple things being voice/piano/harmony. That is the best way that I can describe the piano version of Wanderlust. Both versions seek experience beyond reality through fantasy, but each has a distinct approach in its method.
Listening to all that we created for the music and how it came together is quite thrilling. The incredible music Paul had written really inspired me to push my boundaries and create/interpret some of the most technically challenging music I ever had to do. There were moments where I sat in my tiny dark, low oxygen closet (aka my quarantine recording home studio) where I even cried a bit because I wondered if I could successfully add my vision to the music. I felt the fear of the failure and persevered. As much as there is so much fantasy in this music, I believe the quest for reaching higher ground is one that is ever evolving in us all.
I look forward to sharing this music with you on June 4th .