OK, so I spent three and a half weeks trying to write a song for Matt Dusk.
Matt is a fantastic singer, and loves the same music that I do – the classics of Sinatra and Dino and Tony Bennett and Chet Baker and Ella Fitzgerald. As a singer myself, I sing the classic songs of that era all the time, and could hardly love them more. They are what I live and breathe. Well, I should add the Beatles and Bob Dylan and the Dixie Chicks to that list, but that’s another lungful.
After a few days, I had written the basic song, but my verses and pre-choruses were just not happening. The chorus was pretty good, but could be improved here and there. I had the music all done, but no sense of location for the action, and not a trace of a good verse idea. Time to ask people whose songwriting chops I both respect and trust if they would help me get to the finish line.
Enter Lucy and Dave – Lucy LeBlanc is a fine writer with a deep well of experience, especially in the song-focused world of Nashville, and Dave Stanley Daoust, another great writer with a strong Canadian country background. These were people who could really take the idea to new heights. If I was going to write a hit, I needed help, and this was one of the things the SAC brought into focus for us in this fabulous challenge.
Together, we agreed that we should set the song on the beach, where the protagonist sees a sexy woman emerging from the surf, as we saw in the Bond film “Dr. No”, with Ursula Andress, back in the sexy, adventurous 1960’s. With suitable inspiration from her foam-flecked white bikini and stunning eyes, we set about writing a captivating lyric.
The song developed rapidly from there, and as I already had a melody and chord progression, there was nothing to do after that but produce a recorded version that had exciting potential.
I dug out the Gibson Les Paul Custom, for the solo work, and the Grestch DuoJet for the shimmering arpeggiated chords. I took a Kubicki Ex-Factor out of retirement for a steamy bass guitar line (I usually favour the Hofner violin bass, but this called for more sex appeal) and I navigated the waters of Omnisphere (a humungous virtual instrument plug-in) for the various synthesizer parts that bubble and twirl their way through my recording. A DB-33 plugin by Avid stood in for the obligatory Hammond B3, which I enjoyed playing with fairly stable settings.
After a bit of time on the elliptical trainer, LOL, I was ready to sing the lead vocal – I bet Matt Dusk will have no such trouble! Anyway, there are many long held notes in the choruses and at the big ending, so I’m sure, being a great singer, he will have fun doing that if he chooses to try singing the song. I know I had a blast!
The song reminds me of classic Sinatra meets 21st century pop – something Matt could really inhabit beautifully, a field he could dominate – sort of “Besame Mucho” mixed with “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, or perhaps Amy Winehouse and Adele meet Marc Anthony and J. Lo.
The best thing about the SAC challenge was the constantly approaching deadline, which was both a curse and a blessing. I loved it! i really enjoyed having a ready audience for what I was doing, and more than that, being able to listen to everyone else’s work. So much talent in one place, it’s terrifying!
I’d do this all again in a heartbeat – thank you SAC! This rocked BIGTIME.
I want to especially thank Matt Dusk and Barbara Sedun along with the SAC for taking a chance on SAC writers – I hope that somebody has written something suitable for you. You are a phenomenal singer, Matt, and it is a privilege to write something for you.
I am very happy, because whether or not you can use the song we wrote, I know that I am a far better writer for the challenge that you and the SAC put me through. Thank you!!!!