Monday, 23 November 2015

Protège moi

“I will come to your place, write the lyrics and record the vocals, but I don’t want the production company to use my name for the promotion of their film. I like the idea of being anonymous.” Those were A. ‘s words. She had postponed our session a few times, busy as she was helping for a music festival and also getting back on her feet after a couple of months not being herself because of some newly discovered disease which compelled her to stay in without much energy to do anything. I thought it was hepatitis A but it was more serious.
At twenty to midnight she was there. I was dead tired already, but happy to finally do this song with her. The instrumental track was ready. I had recorded the strings a few days before and it really sounded good. Jay of course had heard it and liked it. I was curious to hear the final result with the singing.
A. had only scribbled down ideas for the lyrics. The following hour was spent matching words and melody. At past one in the morning, we attempted to record the vocals. “Let’s print a first draft. If there is anything that requires some changes, I will do that at my studio” she told me. Indeed, my equipment was very basic: a simple but very efficient ZOOM recorder. I had to hand-hold it. No frills. That allows me lots of freedom as I can go anywhere and record what I want before bringing it back home and editing it on my computer. A. did a few takes until the melody came out of her mouth effortlessly. 
Finally the song was taking life. I had nearly given up. When I learned that A. was sick, I searched for another singer, she introduced me to one, Zoe, whose music I already was acquainted with and appreciated. We exchanged a few emails, she agreed to do it, seemed to be quite happy to join the project, I got in touch with her record company, then nothing. The record company eventually wrote to me that Zoe was busy preparing for an upcoming tour and deeply regretted that the collaboration could not work out. I didn’t know what to believe. I had received many of those letters, which are written in a positive and polite way to disguise the blow of a negative response. When A. heard about it, she made time to come and help me. It was perfect for she was the one I originally wanted for the song. Jay was very excited to know she would be the vocalist. As A. retired from show business – at least from the name she was known as, she wished to remain anonymous. She gave me some fake names that I could use. I thought that coming up with a real alias would be better. What about AXA? - An x A. ? She loved the idea. The song bears a name in French: Protège moi -  I felt that strange impulse to have those two French words in the chorus. A. liked it.
New songs will certainly come later next year. I had written lots of music that has not been used, and will make excellent material for new songs. At 3am we were done with the recording. A. went home to work on something she had to finish before the morning. When will she stop? I felt so grateful to her generosity and her love.
I was so exhausted myself, I decided to do the editing after a few hours of sleep. 
Writing this soundtrack has been a challenge, two weeks ago, I honestly believed I would never manage to come up with any satisfactory result. But as some master said, it all come as a reflection of what is going on inside. Let go of your ego, forget the old woes and forge the path you want to walk on. Once I had decided to take matters in hand and defend my point of view, things became clear and I understood what I had to do.
This year has been quite a testing one for me.

Soon I will be able to focus on the next project: the Open Space Project in Saigon.

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