How it all started, The Album
Hi everyone in this segment of my homepage I will be telling you how the album developed and how actual songs were conceived and written. I will also be posting a few “making of” videos in the coming weeks.
Anyway here goes. I had basically always been a band kind of guy but found it found it hard going trying to get a band project together as other people just had different priorities which is absolutely understandable so I finally decided to record a solo album around October 2017. I had a batch of songs but was still technically a novice and needed some guidance and support in this area.
I had known Eric M.C. Schwaab for many years but we hadn’t done anything together. He was however very well informed in the multimedia areas and knew how to get a project started. Eric also had a bag of ideas/songs so we had a meeting early November 2017 to discuss a project and a possible song writing partnership. I had written most of the material (17 Songs ) but felt the icing on the cake was missing so this is how the title track “Leave It All Behind” came to be.
Eric and I basically agreed to officially start collaborating on my second album which I am planning for 2020 but first things first I asked him if he had any demos/songs in the hope it may spark that final piece in the puzzle. Around the end of November 2017 he sent me a demo which I immediately liked and the more I heard it the more I was convinced this was the “one”! Looking back I had always wanted to compose a song which emphasized the beauty and serenity of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah East Malaysia where I live part of the year and had tried many times unsuccessfully to pen something.
My wife had often told me to shoot a video in Sabah but up until now I had had no relevant idea or song but this time Eric’s demo left me full of enthusiasm. I quickly wrote some lyrics and kept singing them to the demo. Yes this seemed to be the final piece in the puzzle.
However I wasn’t in the position to record the song but I planned todo it in January 2018. So I endured an impatient 4 weeks until I had another opportunity.
January arrived and as soon as I had the chance I got down to work convinced this was it! To my terrible disappointment once I had recorded the first version of “Leave It All Behind” it sounded awful. The demo was great and the lyrics were great but the melody did not fit the song so I was in a state of extreme disappointment for at least 3 days. I sent Eric my version and he was also a little disappointed as I had already bragged that this was going to be great. Anyway I always remembered in the past is if you get stuck on tracks then just leave them and continue working on something else; give it a break and try again a week or so later which is what I actually did.
The big hurdle I found was the key the song was written in. It didn’t really fit my voice so I took my capo and placed it on the Bb Open fret and started all over again. Within 30 minutes or so I found a new melody which fitted much better and changed the run of the bridge and chorus. Next morning, I remember well it was 21st of January 2018 I got up early and listed to what I had recorded the night before. Now everything seemed to fit and later sent Eric my reworked version with which he gave the thumbs up. We had all the Keyboards, a drum pattern and my acoustic guitar and I felt safe that this was going to be a good song. So between us we had managed despite a few setbacks to create a very good song which became the title track. It is strange sometimes how things take a turn but this just encouraged that we were on the right track
The next step was actually producing the song and the album itself and that is also a very interesting story of how things just seem to find their way. I was introduced to some great musicians who turned this whole project into something special. As a solo artist you are only as good as the people around you; David Bowie had Mick Ronson, Tom Petty had Mike Campbell, and Billy Idol had Steve Stevens so in part two I will tell you how the album took on a whole new dynamic. Please watch this space for Part 2 “Leave It All Behind” the making of!