Don’t Close Your Eyes… collaborative creations and writing to a prompt (audio, words, backstory)

The interaction between different artistic forces can have a kaleidoscopic effect:
the colors constantly change…
no two “patterns” are ever the same…
the possibilities are endless.

~ Luna Jade
Ruminations on Collaboration

I recently watched a video series put together by Novation – Start Something – with a variety of artists talking about their creative process… what inspires them, the way they start a new song, how their ideas take shape. (Lots of great food for thought there… I recommend watching it.) It got me thinking about just how many “sparks” fly around us every day – waiting to be ignited – and the myriad of ways the creative process happens for me personally. Most of the time (for me) it’s been a solo process – a melody, or a lyric idea, or perhaps a rhythmic pattern emerges – commanding my attention and begging to be given life – and I build on it from there.

The composer, producer, and recording/mixing engineer chops I have been enhancing – writing and recording music for commercial productions (instrumentals and vocal songs) – are being put to good use as I flesh out my back catalog. I have A LOT of music that wants to be released. And now, for the most part, it’s my busy schedule and multiple involvements that dictates when I can release (SO grateful for the autonomy! :)

But sometimes it is a collaborative sharing that provides the beginning of a synergistic creation. A simple… “Hey, I have this track I’m not sure what to do with… got any ideas?”

I love that kind of challenge… something deep inside stirs and starts working away at it (sometimes subconsciously) until enough of the idea rises to the surface, hinting at the direction it wants to go in, and I can flesh it out from there.

The Spark

Lars (Lawrence Ellington, my writing partner from Toxic Minds) sent me an instrumental track a little while back… asking if I heard any ideas for it. It was a very nicely recorded instrumental track with an uplifting mainstream vibe. Lars has a wonderful touch with creating strong melodic rock tracks and it just begged to be turned into a song.

Sometimes it takes a little while for the track to “speak” to me. The idea didn’t come to me immediately… it was percolating on a slow burn until it erupted in one of those “wake me up in the early morning, playing over and over in my head until I captured it” deals. The first line of the song – with the melody, the vocal pattern, and the lyrics for the verse – was the initial spark for me: “Heeey… you on your own, so far from home, no love in sight.” And then the rest just kept coming. Lars’ working title was “Don’t Close Your Eyes” – he told me it wasn’t set in stone and I could change it, but it caught my fancy and I used it as a prompt to write the chorus to.

Another “Frankenstein track”…

As often happens with tracks that start off as instrumentals, the format and flow of the track wouldn’t fit the melody and song idea I had, so I put on my producer hat and went into slice ’em and splice ’em mode. It’s a neat little process I’ve used with other songs, such as “Drowning on Dry Land” – slicing the song up and reassembling it in the arrangement that works for my melody and lyrics, adding some space between chorus and verse so I can catch my breath or re-state an instrumental hook, modifying the flow, or punctuating the ending. As my production skills have expanded, so have the sonic possibilities I have at my disposal. (The first time I did this – for my song Facing Medusa – I barely knew what I was doing. I wanted to create a track from the instrumental scribble a musician quickly recorded in response to my vocal idea, so I figured it out on the fly.)

In the case of Don’t Close Your Eyes, in addition to changing the flow to create the song arrangement, I dropped the key to make room for a modulation after the chorus – using Melodyne to modify the transition chord – and brought the last double-chorus up a whole step to add some intensity to the end, which I stretched and punctuated with a another measure of the drum fill.

Note: I was working from an mp3 of the mixed instrumental track, so the modified and pitch-shifted “Frankenstein track” isn’t as clean and clear as Lars’ well-recorded original version, but I applied some production juice and it worked for getting an initial studio demo of the song. However, it will be re-recorded it in a much more sonically smooth manner.

Timing… and Timely

As often happens, the song was given life, but other projects and busy schedules put it on the back burner for a bit… and then it slipped from our minds. A couple of weeks ago – while taking a breather from the intense project that has been consuming me of late (well, one of them) – I started digging through my W.I.P. tracks and came across “Don’t Close Your Eyes”… and fell in love with it all over again. Given current events and tensions, the positive encouraging lyric message is one we could use right now… so I cleaned it up and shared it. And, happily, that got the ball rolling again.

So… stay tuned, there’s more to come. (teaser: queue the choir ;)

Don’t Close Your Eyes

lyrics and melody: Luna Jade
music: Lars Ellington and Luna Jade
instrumentation: Lars Ellington


© Luna Jade and Lawrence Ellington

Lyrics:
Hey,
You on your own
so far from home
No love in sight

Hey,
Where is the light
you so long to find
You just keep crying, trying

To see beyond the darkness
You throw your hands up
hang your head and cry

Don’t Close Your Eyes
It’ll be alright
The dawn is breaking

Don’t Close Your Eyes
To the light that guides you to tomorrow
Let it shine
Don’t Close Your Eyes

Hey,
When the night
steals all hope inside
Don’t let go

Hey,
there is a light
shining from your eyes
and it keeps glowing, growing

And soon you’ll find the darkest
night illuminated by your light

Oh, Don’t Close Your Eyes
It’ll be alright
The dawn is breaking

Don’t Close Your Eyes
To the light that guides you to tomorrow
Oh, just let it shine

And when the sky is falling
and you can’t see to make it right
just hold on to the hope
you can let it shine
You will find it there inside

Don’t Close Your Eyes
It’ll be alright
The dawn is breaking
Open wide

Don’t Close Your Eyes
To the light that guides you to tomorrow
Oh, just let it shine

Oh, Don’t Close Your Eyes
It’ll be alright
The dawn is breaking
Open wide

Don’t Close Your Eyes
To the light that guides you to tomorrow
Oh, just let it shine

Don’t Close Your Eyes

© Luna Jade

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 Don’t Close Your Eyes… collaborative creations and writing to a prompt (audio, words, backstory) - Luna Jade ~ LunaJade.com