Today I am recording a song that has been 3 years in the making. It has come close to being recorded twice now, but each time circumstance seemed to sidetrack the project. Today though, the circle closes and this song is given its wings.
The whole project has been hush hush, because I was gifted with the opportunity to create a beautiful moment for someone I care deeply for. Today though, the secret is unwrapped and I get to be part of something way bigger than myself.
Let me tell get you all up to speed.... In 2008 I met a jazzy singer at a SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). She stood out from the all the typical dichotomy of contrived nonchalance or overhyped crazy that often goes with the persona of the artist. She was real, she was sincerely upbeat and we became instant friends. Her name is Cindy O’Neil. Cindy asked me if I would like to co-wrote a song with her, and though I had never done such a thing and was quite nervous about it, I said yes. So one night, when the moon held the sky in rapture, I drove over to her place and wrote music to lyrics Cindy had written long ago. I played her tiny keyboard, testing out chords, trying out melody lines, and from this “Wings in Flight” was born.
We both felt it was a strong song, and not just because of the positive audience reaction when we sang it live. The song is a moment, an encapsulation of that feeling of synchronicity with something larger than you. The song is alive in some way. We schemed...made plans and started feeling as if there were some momentum. I asked an old friend of mine (who is now the assistant concert master at the CPO) to help us arrange strings for the song, which he did, and we were so close to having it recorded. Life has its ways of derailing even the best laid plans and it all fell through. A couple of years later, Cindy moved to Ontario.
Cindy is a beautiful person, vivacious and energetic. She also has been living with a debilitating disease, rheumatoid arthritis, since she was in her early 20s. On the bad days, it is devastating, severely limiting mobility...and it’s painful. Cindy has been on life saving medication, which allows her to have some normalcy. But, and it’s a big but, the medication is stripping her of her voice. Cindy phoned me this past summer and told me this and asked “could we please find a way to record our song”. I set about trying to find a financially feasible way for us to record this when we both live in different provinces. And though we were trying to get it arranged, nothing was falling properly into place.
That all changed in September when Cindy’s finance, Ken, phoned me and told me he was planning a surprise trip to Calgary for Cindy. This was it. Our moment had finally come. A couple of quick phone calls with Ken and the stage was set. The song would be recorded and it was to be a surprise for Cindy. I arranged with a studio in town to record bedtracks, which I did just a couple of days ago and right now Cindy is on a plane to Calgary, her first surprise of the day. When she lands, Ken is driving her to my house, the second surprise. And then, the best kind of surprise, we are all going to the studio where Cindy will get the opportunity to sing this last song.
The strings sound lush and full, the piano a bright counterpoint and today, our duet will take flight. I find recording invigorating, but this time it feels even brighter, even more exciting, because I have the honour and privilege to be able to give her this gift.
Surprises are hard to keep, especially when I have gotten media involved, but it will all be worth in when I see her face in the next couple of hours. In fact, her plane will be landing momentarily.
I can't wait to share this song with you, and all the pictures, video and media that have come along the way. And most of all, I can't wait to share Cindy with you....