In the first half of 2012, I was approached with the seemingly monumental task of writing a song for the world’s longest reigning monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
I had previously been working with the fantastic 2x Grammy and Emmy winning producer, Kipper Eldridge, and I knew that with his production gifts at the helm, the song could turn out to be something very special.
WRITING TO BRIEF.
I find it easy to write to a brief, and this subject was not a difficult one to approach in theory – but of course – I had the challenge of writing something that was commercially viable, as well as being accessible to people of all generations in a country that was not my own, and where the mother-tongue was not English.
Stylistically, I decided to go for a classic slow-mid tempo groove, with progressions that might be similar in evocation to I Believe I Can Fly, for example.
The writing of the music only took me 3 days – across a period of a week before the submission date.
During that process, I did the usual thing of writing my “scratch” lyrics and ideas on my pad- the melodic rise and fall within the lyric, phrasing and sentiment of the song.
I had actually been given about 8 days to write the song – which put a friendly pressure on the process!
It came to day 7, and I had the music structure nailed, and a few lines – but no real lyrics.
I was in my music studio, looking out of the window to my back yard which has a good view with trees and palms. Suddenly it started raining, and I was conscious of a wind that came rushing through the house. It was a spiritual moment, and I had complete clarity in that instant.
I had the sense that the rain was the symbol of blessing on the song.
I then proceeded to write all the lyrics from start to finish in no more than 1 hour.
Since that first draft, there has been little to no alteration, apart from the slight tweak of one or 2 words and phrases, as is the usual process of getting the lyrics to sit comfortably with the arrangement.
RECORDING THE SONG
Kipper Eldridge flew out to Thailand, along with my good friend Wayne Urquhart, whom I chose to be the string arranger on the track. It was a really fantastic team – it really worked well.
The recording process was very exciting – and we completed the song in 8 days, recording the children’s choir at a music school in central Bangkok, as well as rehearsing the rhythm section there, and recording the native Thai instruments.
Tracking took place at Karma Sound Studios in the sleepy village of Bang Saray just outside of Pattaya.
There was a huge number of people involved in the making of this track, and it was an absolute joy to experience the power and energy of a team all working together to a common end.
Finally – the track was taken to london to be mixed by Cameron Craig – a terrific producer and engineer , who has also won 2 Grammys – working for Duffy and Suzanne Vega – and a huge host of other world class artists.
The very final stage was mastering = which was completed in the expert ears of Paul Grundman from Bernie Grundman studios in Los Angeles, USA.
The results are plain to see and to hear, and it is my hope that this song will stand the test of time and be a blessing to the Thai people for generations to come, and also to many people – Thai and non-Thai alike, all over the world.