I guiltfully sat down to do a proper mix on this song, remembering full well that I had intended to post it to the blogstream sometime in late 2011… no, wait, 2011? Something about that doesn’t seem right…
Oh, because I had meant to post this song sometime in LATE 2010! Erk!
And this rediscovery only when I opened the ProTools file, and saw that it read “Be Right Here DEMO 2010-10-23”. Very embarrassing, though props from me to me for having an organized labeling system
In any case, here it is. I opted for a more raw approach than I was going for originally, which I feel allows Val’s natural expressivity to shine through more clearly (So, you see, it was good that I waited so long *snigger*)… more on this below.
Be Right Here, aka Be Right Here (Mikey and Lacey) (lyrics can be found here) is a song from "Open Mic", a musical story that I am in the process of developing at BlueDorian. Currently the song appears towards the end of the story, and is sung by the character Michelle Grant, one of five singer-songwriters vying for top-dog spot at an open mic competition, the events surrounding which form the basis of the story’s plot. (Click here to visit Open Mic's project page at bluedorian.com)
The song is an act of contrition by Michelle, who has come to the realization that she has spent much of the story, and, as we find out, her life, treating others poorly; attaching to people only so as to use them, manipulating them emotionally to get what she wants and then throwing them away when she has no further need of them.
She has done this time and again to her hapless friend Bob, who is referred to in the song as “Lacey”, where she herself is “Mikey”—incidentally, the intentional gender fake-out speaks to the way the two view one another within the context of their relationship. The song begins as a diegetic performance, but transitions into direct address, sung to Bob, with whom she shares this epiphany, acknowledging the sadness of her state while knowing that, in the long run, it is unlikely that she can ever change. So, not an upper per se.
No doubt things will be tweaked as development continues. The part of the song most in question for me is the instrumental bridge between V1 and V2. I originally envisioned a longer transition, perhaps involving dialogue, in order to somehow take us from the performance venue into some sort of private space between Michelle and Bob. No idea how to do it yet, or whether it will even work narratively! In the meantime, we apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your understanding – The Management
About the track
Singing the part of Michelle on this track is the very talented Valerie Larsen, to whose work I was introduced at a reading of Chris Guin’s original musical Tell Me a Beautiful Lie. After watching her performance I knew I wanted to work with her in some fashion, though at the time this song wasn’t even written. We met to discuss developing some soprano-range material that I was working on, and at first settled on the song Still Walking (see earlier blog post: Ten Years and Still Walking), but after a session it was clear to me that the song itself wasn’t ready for a second demo (the bridge needs a major rewrite).
But, as luck or else sheer dogged persistence would have it, I somehow started and finished Be Right Here in between two of our sessions, and when we put together song and singer the pairing really worked. What I appreciate most about Val’s intepretation of this song is her ability to convey the conflict between Michelle’s new desire to be open and vulnerable and her older, programmed m.o., predicated on a stubborn refusal to ever show any vulnerability. I feel this comes through most clearly in the third verse where Val so deftly toes this line, giving us the clarity we need (yes, she’s scared) but leaving us enough wiggle room to wonder if the character is still somehow posturing, somehow manipulating us. An emotionally satisfying performance that doesn’t explode into emoting. Sweet stuff.
To that end, Val, thank you for your patience (she recorded this in October 2010). I am most grateful for this beautiful rendition by a rising young artist. Hopefully my meager mixing abilities do her performance justice!
Enjoy the song, and feel free to post any feedback or thoughts on either soundcloud or facebook!
Travel safe and talk soon.
For more on Valerie Larsen, click here.
For more on Open Mic, click here.