Recently, I was able to work for a client who is not only a client but also a part of our family. Connie Cassell Tuck (goes by “Connie Tuck” on iTunes) is a songwriter who lives in West Virginia.
HOW A SONG STANDS
Connie is an experienced writer who penned a song that later became titled “Just What A Smile Can Bring.” I love working with lyricists and songwriters to help them take the words they have written and put music and melody to them.
What I’ve learned is that a song will stand or fall on whether the song is written well and if it has a compelling message.
Production and recording is always secondary to whether or not the song is actually a good song. If it’s produced well but lacks songwriting depth it might make a small splash, but it will very easily drift off into obscurity.
When I saw the lyrics for Connie’s song, it got me excited because I felt like it was written well and was very honest and real. Below are the lyrics to the chorus.
It communicates the idea that we all don’t have to do something big in the world but we can all do little things that make a big difference. Like a smile you might casually give to someone you interact with during the day, those little moments can have a profound impact and shouldn’t be underestimated.
When you go to bed at night do you know that you helped someone
Do you know you did all you could do and left no one out
You don’t have to give money or worldly things
Do you realize just what a smile can bring?
ENHANCING THE SONG
When I submitted the demo to Connie, I never expected to be the featured artist on the track. I always assume and expect the songwriter to bring in a vocalist or for us to look for one together. But after hearing the demo (just acoustic and vocals), Connie said she thought I did an amazing job and knew that I had to be the one to sing the track.
I hesitated for a little bit because I actually don’t have any of my own music (my voice) out publicly. I consider music production and writing my main skills and singing not as much. I’ve typically always outsourced that.
Connie pushed me to expand my comfortability, and I am really glad she did. It forced me to be vulnerable and to step out and grow.
As we built the track, we really wanted to enhance the mood and vibe of the story the song was telling. It has these really intimate moments and then really builds into a full last chorus. It is very acoustic and piano driven and finding the right instrumentation balance was key.
One of the things that I am very proud of is the vocal production on this track. We brought in a good friend of ours, Nina Grace, to do the background vocals on the chorus and we couldn’t be more happy about it.
There are so many layers and textures, especially in the last chorus, that just soloing the vocals at the end was really moving to me. All of the parts really compliment each other, and the vocal layering really took this production to the next level.
There must be elements in songs like this that keep the song engaging and interesting to the ear. That way you don’t lose the audience along the way.
This was our first song to create for Connie, and I’m very excited about helping her, as a songwriter, to get her songs into the world in order to ‘bless people’ (her own words).
The song can be streamed on all major music channels and you can purchase the track and support Connie on iTunes.
I got to sit down with Connie when she came to visit and we talked about her song and our process. Check it out: