September 15th, 2019

Aim for Something

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Coming back here feels like a trip to the past. It has been that long. But I want to post at least once this year so here it is!

While real priorities required me to focus elsewhere – daddyyy! – I haven’t lost my hunger for making stuff, in less time. And so here is the latest thing I made, continuing my tradition of a song + an illustration. I’ll focus on the song.

1. Fail fast

To the astonishment of my younger self I’ve been listening to a lot of rap lately, and so, one evening I wrote some lyrics to be rapped up. Definitely out of my comfort zone to execute the idea, I played around with some hip-hop backtracks, had some fun, but didn’t feel confident I should pursue that avenue.

From there I picked up my guitar, and tried hard to make it work in my usual acoustic songwriter style. Ended up with around three/four variations quietly recorded in my echo-y kitchen at night, but didn’t get anywhere: it was flat and mostly b-o-r-i-n-g. Here is one of them:

 

2. Embrace the change

Next step. I tuned up to GarageBand on my iPad and just gave a go at executing the original idea: craft a beat, add a piano sample, and try to rap on it – still quietly in my kitchen at night… It got exciting again. I was about to have fun.

I then tried to find a more appropriate way to make some beats. I love GarageBand but I wanted to try something new, more targeted to my new career as “Ju le Rapper”. No, I won’t do that. Maybe.

I stumbled upon BeatMaker 3 and that changed everything. Really well put together and powerful app to put together beats, and play around chopping samples. After binging on a few BeatMaker 3 tutorials on YouTube (and that guy), I made some beats, imported the piano sample from GarageBand, and finally recorded the lyrics, not quietly, not in the kitchen, but in the office with a proper mic. Baby slept through. Papa has done a rap.

3. W(rap) it up

Until now the song was called “A walk”, because that’s how the lyrics start: “Here I walk on the path”. Cool.

Now that I recorded a new track, I was in need of making some illustration to keep my creative hunger balanced. As a brief I thought it would be fun to draw some lettering, quoting a message from the songs I wrote. I selected a few, but the one that really stood out at the most universally relatable was: “Aim for something or nothing will come”. Started on paper, finished on ProCreate, here is the time-lapse:

 

 

This is how “A walk” led me to “Aim for Something”.

4. Lyrics

Here I walk on the path
That turn into past
To grow up like grass
Fresh out of a bath

Some days I feel weak
Like the other day
But not every week
Save time for some play

Ground is grounded
Ain’t got no choice
When I’m that low
I spring up that noise

Stop the reflection
Of my thoughts on the pond
If I want to bond
Better leave them alone

Now is then and there
And gone and is back
Catching up like fire
Burning in my back

Up above a bird
Sees me crying
I don’t want to hide
That would be me lying

Aim for something
Or nothing will come
Turn on all the lights
Right before it’s gone

When I feel good
I am confident
It will stay for good
If I put a hood

Forgive what I gave
Pretend that I leave
The trend that I bend
It should be humbling

Nothing is exciting
I see it crumbling
Conscious for nothing
I see it crumbling

Pretend to be smiling
I see it crumbling
Compare everything
I see it crumbling

Overthink, hesitate
Isolate, escape
Tired, frustrated
Shut down, go to bed

Not sleeping, time holding
A concrete wall of ice
All these efforts for nothing
I’m alone on this path

~

Walking this way
It’s been a long time
Since I went away
Looking for my prime

Then it went missing
Hiding from me like
A dream with no end
Aiming to pretend

~

I done what I could
I spent all I should
I drew my ideas
Ignore all the biz

Nested in the cold
Warmed up to myself
No need to be bold
My cut is above

The end is the start
Of my next iteration
Confirm true satisfaction
Discovering my partition

Exploring my emotions
Opportunity for action
Feeling alive for my passion
Complete another creation

Appreciate, respect,
Understand what’s on my mind,
Grounded to my head
Headed to unbound

So here I walked on the path
That led me to pass
A stumble on the way
To who I am today

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