The story behind the song “Answers” by Jesse Weeks

Jesse Weeks

by Jesse Weeks

This song was inspired by the TV show LOST. I was a huge fan of the show and it was during the 5th season when I had the idea to write a song to the castaways from the viewers perspective. I wanted it to be filled with the hope they would one day have their questions answered.

The first line of the song – “Live together or die alone” – is a common phrase repeated by main characters throughout the various seasons. It seemed like a good place to start. The repetition of “Don’t lose your hope” in the chorus also worked well given that the characters faced so many obstacles and failures. I wanted to convey my earnest desire to see their tension resolved.

My favourite line of the song is “tarnished souls conflict with righteous minds”. This line summed up a lot of the interpersonal and ethical dilemma’s that characters found themselves in.

The song was beautifully produced by Ron Lopata. Ron was great to work with and helped me achieve my vision of having the song’s tempo speed up throughout the song. It’s hardly noticeable but at 2 or 3 points in the song, the tempo increases slightly. This makes the build more exciting and I was pleased that it worked so subtly.

The video was the brainchild of director Jeff Hammond of Hammond Cheeze Films. Jeff came up with the touching story which he captured with creativity and originality. My favourite shots are the flashbacks at the theme park. These were taken at the CNE where the colours are so rich and vibrantly engaging. I also liked that Jeff kept the storyline vague as it left the viewer open to interpret meaning. The female role is played by my wife, Laura Miyata. She did an amazing job portraying the mixed emotions we all feel at various times within our relationships. Given the theme of the music video, we thought it only fitting to pay respects to our heroes from the Canadian Forces by added a dedication at the end. Another notable topic is that I created 2nd version of this video which includes clips from the show LOST. I promoted the LOST version on YouTube during the series finale and was able to generate some buzz.

Given it’s inspirational and sincere message, “Answers” found a place on Canadian Christian radio and is still being played on many of these stations including Galaxie station “The Light”. I am very grateful for the airplay as the royalties have helped pay for some of the expenses associated with the production of the song and video.

Since “Answers” I’ve been writing a lot and am assisting a few up-and-coming artists. My goal is to write with/for artists that are either signed to labels or who I feel have the potential to be signed. I continue to write for myself but I often conclude that my songs may work better if performed by other artists. I also continue to work with new producers as I find it’s a great way to stay fresh and learn new tricks . Given that my strengths are melody and lyrics, I have found I work well with multi-instrumentalists and programmers. Some of my new demo’s can be heard at www.soundcloud.com/jesseweeks and I also have a blog at www.jesseweeks.com which I update from time to time. Thanks for listening 🙂

Visit Jesse’s Songwriter Profile:  http://songwriters.ca/member/jesseweeks

Here is the Lost version of the video:

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Songwriting Duo credits S.A.C. membership for recent Factor demo grant

Campbell-Green-promo-shot-1200We’re, Campbell + Green, a husband and wife duo who got serious about writing our own songs just a few years ago. Since then we have been actively educating ourselves on the craft of writing using whatever tools we can find. We’ve recorded a few CDs and are working on another.  We are excited to say we just received word of our first FACTOR demo grant to assist in our work!

We became SAC members (Click Here to view our Songwriters Profile.) in 2010 when we were living in BC. We started out visiting SAC events, SAC Songstage nights and ‘self-medicating’ by learning online, hosting songwriter workshops in our home (Shari Ulrich, Bruce Coughlan, Gregory Hoskins) and from books.

A life changing move occurred in May 2010 when, enticed by wanderlust and music and house prices, we pulled up roots and moved to Nova Scotia. It was a real learning situation getting in to the local community and fixing up our house as a small concert venue and, writing songs! Our writing culminated in our most recent CD ‘East’ which was completed June 2013 featuring 9 original tunes and has some great local players – Jamie Robinson – producer/guitar, Adam Dowling – Drums and Jamie Gatti – bass.

We have, very gratefully, made good use of other SAC resources by attending online seminars, one-on-one mentoring sessions and participating in the “6 songs in 6 weeks” 2014 blogging challenge with Christopher Ward. Part of this challenge included co-writing. We are both novices at co-writing and I, Robert, decided, ‘Why not connect with a proven winner’ and contacted North Easton, (the 2013 blogging champ who was back at it in 2014!). Using Skype and email we wrote an up tempo pop song, “A Simple Life”. North is a real gem and he quickly and skillfully crafted a scratch demo. We really like the tune and I sing it live now at gigs, albeit a tone lower and with a few small changes. We used that initial scratch track as part of a FACTOR application for our ‘demo’ grant and we were  successful in the process and are now eager to get in to the studio to record!

We can honestly say the cost of our SAC membership has been paid back many times over by the ideas, mentoring and education received.

Applying for grants and filling out forms and doing the business side of songwriting can be a real pain and can consume a lot of time however it is actually quite useful in a few ways. It has helped us:

  • take stock of what we do, who we are and where we are going and why. – It is easy to lose sight of this when dealing with day to day minutiae in our lives.
  • build a portfolio of documents, links and promo. – We now repurpose these for festival, grant and gig submissions. It pays to have at least some level of professionalism in our presentations and even if you don’t have a million dollar video there are lots of low / no cost ways to make things look good.
  • develop patience. – You don’t ‘win’ at the ‘submission game’ on the first or even 4th round. Keep trying.
  • gain more self confidence. –  Are we on the right track? As new writers one never really knows and has doubts that what you are doing is good, bad or indifferent. We have to find honest and useful critique (not criticism!) and a positive response on a grant or a good SAC songwriting seminar can not only be educational but also be really uplifting.

You just have to keep plugging away….

Cailin and I are now writing, and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting, our songs and will be in the studio soon. Well, that plus hosting the likes of Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard, “Tillers Folly” and Charlie A’Court In our 70 seat house venue in Dartmouth www.rocamusic.ca

Oh, ya, we are also touring some venues and festivals in New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia this summer  www.CampbellAndGreen.ca, We love meeting other songwriters and invite you to come say hello, connect up and share stories about songwriting and maybe even do some co-writing.

This songwriting thing is a muscle that needs exercise. And co-writing is like having an ‘exercise buddy’. It may even grant you some other rewards… like a FACTOR grant!