I was approached to help 9 year old Jenson help finish a Christmas song he had written. This was a completely extracurricular activity that he undertook himself. He had written the most beautiful lyrics and some ideas for melodies, and as he is a friend of the family I was only too happy to help him take it to the next level.
The initial draft (simply a recording of Jenson singing his song acapella!) had a classic Christmas hymn vibe, and as the lyrics were pretty much there, the first step was to build a solid structure to the song and get the music locked in. For this I went round his house with my guitar and we spent about 2 hours jamming out ideas. His Nan even made me dinner! For the verses we pretty much stuck to what Jenson sang on his scratch demo. For the bridge and chorus I found some pleasing chords and attached lines of Jenson’s lyrics that stood out for me.
The next step was to actually record the music and get Jenson singing on tape. For a nice smooth recording experience I decided to take everything to Elliott Paterson’s studio in Rayleigh, Essex. One thing I would say is that kids should be encouraged to record a in a studio. It’s an exciting experience for them!
I laid down some simple acoustic guitar, then gave Jenson about 4 or 5 takes singing the vocal. Confidence is key to getting a good vocal recording, and it’s easy to be a little nervous on your first go (it sounds really weird hearing your voice in the cans!), however Jenson rose to the challenge. I encouraged him to use his diaphragm, and really try and belt it out. I always say if you make a mistake, make sure it’s a good one!
Once this was done, we spliced together our favourite bits, added some low strings and some light percussion, and that was it - project done. We burnt some discs and sent Jenson on his way. You can here the outcome below.
An exciting development soon followed as a few weeks later I was asked to score the music so that a music director could feature this song in the Christmas concert of a local choir. Fast forward a few months, and his song was actually being sung by Jenson and his choir with myself proudly in the audience.
I love how if you follow things through you can go on some amazing journeys. Jenson is proof of this.
I very much hope I can get involved in more projects like this in the future. Merry Christmas everyone!
What do you think of Jenson's song? Do you know any other talented kids with ideas that need taking to the next level? Don't forget to get in touch with me if you require my services!