A local singer-songwriter with whom I am acquainted posted a new song she had written on Facebook. It’s broadly representative of why I love her music – elegant, deceptively straightforward, and full of potential avenues for reinterpretation and addition. I’ve been looking for opportunities to collaborate with Stephanie for a while, and when I first heard her song ‘Grown Up’ my mind was immediately flooded with ideas of how I could augment it.
The result of our collaboration is now available on Youtube:
Guitars and vocals are Stephanie, strings are me. I was going for the suggestion of strings rather than making the strings the driving force. As a result, I was able to add layer upon layer upon layer, in an attempt to re-create the effect of an entire string orchestra from a single instrument. There is a cello part (I used an effects pedal to drop my viola by an octave into the cello’s range), 6 syncopated ‘brush’ string parts, 2 upper-range ‘descant’ parts, and a solo/countermelody of three voices, as well as 2 ‘pizzicato’ parts. I recommend listening with headphones if you want to try and pick them all out (especially the cello, which sits underneath the bass guitar part).
I used a similar arrangement in my song ‘Saturday’, but made a conscious effort to make the strings more subdued to allow Stephanie’s haunting vocals to shine through. Stephanie too is a multi-instrumentalist, and I look forward to finding an opportunity to return the favour and have her contribute something to one of my songs.