One of my favorite parts of my job as a musician is writing songs for people. No, not for the greater public to enjoy via Spotify or at a house concert of mine, although I love that too.
My favorite part of being a songwriter is held in the remainder of this post. But for those of you anxious for me to get to the point, it's this: a commissioned song will be the greatest gift you'll ever give (unconditional love not withstanding.)
Anniversaries, birthdays, career milestones, family reunions, bffs, births, weddings, you name it.
A commissioned song is a phenomenally unique gift.
Here's the proof:
Here are a handful of examples. Below you'll hear songs I've written for a special person. (At least the ones that aren't confidential, some folks opt for that.)
1. A Commissioned Song is Loved By The Whole Fam
Even if the intended audience is just one or two people, inevitably way more people love it equally as much! The song below is a great example of this.
"Little Bit" was written as a birth celebration. There was a new little set of fingers and toes to welcome to the world. The lyrics playfully count up from 1 to 18 and mention every family member in the song's bridge toward the end!
(Bonus! Sometimes a commissioned song will make it onto one of my albums later on down the road! This one is definitely making it onto the first kids album I record, for sure.)
2. A Commissioned Song is Impenetrably Personal
Every song listed in this post is an example of just how personal music & art can be. The song below was written with wedding vows in mind. It's proof that a song can communicate some of the strongest feelings.
The way emotion is encapsulated within a song is not just like magic, it is magic. Strong magic.
The moments of this kind of magic I've experienced first-hand have been way too many for me to count. So I won't go listing them all here. (I'd be writing this post for weeks.)
But I will say this: Whenever I've written a song, even one for myself, the interpretation of that song is often EXACTLY what a listener needs to hear. This especially goes for commissioned songs. That's what makes them so personal. (and so magical.)
3. A Commissioned Song is Timeless. It Keeps Giving.
A song like the one above could be used multiple ways formally: in the marriage proposal, the wedding ceremony, and every anniversary after! If you're commissioning a song like this, make it known and I'll make it happen!
In fact, the first-take demo (aka not perfect demo) above is so timeless that it'll go on a future album of mine too!
Gift Idea For You: I could even provide you with a version of the song without the vocal track so you could sing it yourself! Or for the instrumentally gifted, I could provide you with the lead-sheet so you could play and sing it yourself!
4. A Commissioned Song Has a High Value for Both the Giver & Receiver
This hospice song was written for someone on their death bed. It brings me to tears every time I listen to it, mainly because the song turned out to be more of a gift to the family who had to say a tough goodbye than to the beautiful soul passing on. Little did they know, this song would become way more to their grieving process than ever intended.
This gem made it onto my Christmas album, for obvious reasons as you'll hear below.
Gift Idea: Is there a feeling or message you want to communicate that's just a little too important to say over coffee?
5. Songs Are Our Go-To Reminders
This song started with a specific moment from a favorite Dr. Seuss story and was written for someone going through a tough time. I used favorite words extracted right out of the story itself to create a new message go-to message for the listener.
It made it onto my live EP!
Gift Idea for You: Does your gift recipient have an all-time favorite book or movie? We can start there!
6. Songs are Vessels for Memories
My sisters and I have a song: Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman." The three of us share a powerfully fun memory of BELTING that song out the top of a red convertible in the middle of Quebec while our family was on vacation. Since I was a pre-teen, every time I hear that song in the middle of the grocery store or in a movie, I ALWAYS think of that moment in time. I always will.
If your budget is a little tight, commissioning a cover song is a great option. Since I (the commissioned musician) am not starting completely from scratch, cover songs are little easier on your purse strings than original song commissions.
The following commissioned cover song was originally recorded by the pop-icon Katy Perry. I recorded it with multiple layers of cello and snaps'n'claps.
Gift Idea For You: Do you and the gift recipient have a song that has become the soundtrack of your relationship or a specific memory?
But How Exactly Does It Work?!
If you're curious about how the commissioned song process goes, it's pretty straightforward: Once your song is reserved in my calendar via the purchase button below. I call. We talk. I take profuse notes, which become the foundation for the song. On the agreed upon date, you'll get a Soundcloud link for your song (like the ones above.)
Then TAH DAH!!!
You become The Ultimate Slayer of Gift-Giving. (or Sleigh-er, depending on the time of year.)
Bonus options available for an extra fee...
- Really want me to use a kazoo or whoopie cushion somewhere into the recording? Make a request for specific instrumentation.
- Don't want me to release your version publicly? I can whip up a confidentiality agreement and modified usage contract real quick.
- Want to sing it yourself? I can provide an extra link to a version with no vocal track.
- Want to put the song behind a photo slideshow or video? I can whip up a modified usage rights agreement for your specific needs.
- Want me to perform it live? Dude. Great idea. That can totally be arranged.
- We could even stealthily work it into a house concert for a big surprise performance! (Umm... surprise birthday concert anyone?!)
Note: I only have room in my calendar for a select number of Commissioned Songs each month. Reserve your spot in my calendar while you can!
Let me be the elf to your Santa.
Oh! and feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions!