As of this week, we have completed the mastering of a piece called, "Is Anybody Out There." Is Anybody Out There, is a conscious work that dialogs about life from the perspective of someone who's been pounded by it, by the hands of another, someone who is overcome with life or with disease or simply overwhelmed with hardship. It touches a little on suicide, people who have been brutalized by words, those who never seem to find the comfort of living, rape, and abuse. It is one of my favorite tracks because it's so real and so honest. We incorporated lots of verbal scenes that you might recall hearing said once or twice; I need to say thank you to Cheryl Smith for her dialog. Production artist Shawn Cannon put her on the spot, and she delivered in real time over the phone. That was the coolest!
The piece leaves you with the outcry of knowing that you are not alone. The build-up is reminiscent of that of a life coach helping to gird our brokenness. The piece is about overcoming, and I think the words are simple everyday expressions that are very relatable. It’s my perspective change on life giving us lemons. The build out of the hook is like the old school preacher that I grew up seeing on the streets back home. Sometimes they’d stand on a box or bucket preaching trying to get a word out rushing as they spoke hoping that the message would be heard before it falls to the ground. Somethings stick with you – I’m hopeful that this one will!
Is Anybody Out There is laced with a sample as its base to set the temperature of the initial sound. The sample comes from a record by Ruelle, called "Carry You." The original is quite inspiring, though at first, it would seem that our rendition speaks to a different tone, that of the original message of the piece vice the record though the two are in sync in not so distant ways. It is still inspirational as it speaks to the hurt that so many feels, so the sample itself is easy on the palate and is quite calming. I felt that it was a good marriage to help to blow in a wind of discomfort into the air of complacency of just living especially when ‘just living’ keeps us stuck in the past that’s unforgiving. I feel that I grow more when confronted with discomfort, and I’m willing to bet that there are others just like me.
We are still working on the release authorization for the sample containing Ruelle’s vocals, but I’m hopeful that it will come any day. Now that the mastering has been completed, it will be a free download from my site derrickawalker.com. I feel that getting the message out is far more important than downloads and pennies. We can get so caught up in our own world at times, especially when things don’t seem to go our way. This frame of reference helps us to forget that we are connected and ensures that we feel like we are walking around with a corner on the market of pain. I could be speaking only to myself right now, but we do forget that there are so many who have gone through things before us and many more who will go through them after us. Each time we speak out means that someone else could be free from whatever they are in.
This piece is the only one on the project that had to be re-written from its original take in the book to fit into the outline of the music. The piece was first written as a call out to those dealing with Cancer and rape victims and was originally titled, "Is Anyone Out There." It was written to express what someone who feels alone would say. I’ve been told that it’s not cancer that kills people; it’s the loneliness that comes from having cancer that kills people. So what better to write about than this? There is help, and there is hope for whatever ails you. The fact that we feel alone is the antithesis of what we were created to be.
Having a voice but not being heard is demoralizing. Most of us need to feel connected to other human beings so when we bury our story’s so deep that we feel that we can’t talk openly, we stunt the growth waiting to shower upon us. I guess by that same token when you are in a situation like this; you can’t really see anything waiting to benefit you. It’s easy for those of us not dealing with it to imagine the lighter take on issues as though they are like a choice between a regular meal and a diet one though we can never truly know what someone who feels alone is going through. At the same time, I do believe that we all go through similar thoughts and feelings at many different phases of our lives, so a mesh of random hardships was needed to bring the message full circle. Is Anybody Out There isn’t just a call out to hardships it’s a call out to the world that we matter, that our voices can’t be constrained by how another feels about us. We are born to overcome, to triumph bleak circumstances, and not to give in. At least those were the lessons of the community of folk that I grew up with.
On a lighter note, once I heard the production work completed, I just smiled and knew that this was what I had been waiting for. It did fit perfectly, and hence Anyone was changed to Anybody — homage to Ruelle for the vocal tones that matched the color of the piece in perfect harmony.
Now let’s get back to the point and the story behind the piece. I can't pretend to tell anyone else's story I can only sympathize with where they are based on where they've been. Rape is a serious topic along with domestic violence, terminal illness, and diseases, but sadly, the list goes on as to why someone would need to know that they are not alone. The fact is many of us go through these thoughts on a daily, weekly, or on a monthly basis. The death of a loved one or depression could easily derail our hope in the future – there’s more about this one in the next book scheduled for release January 2020, titled, “One More Breath.”
Anybody Out There was born of the brokenness of stories that have passed my ears. It is also a wage earned in honor of those who have suffered and for those who continue to do so because the debt they’ve paid can never be undone. Often, we don't know the stories of the individuals next to us. We don't know what secrets they might have, what they're dealing with or how deep their fight for life really is when they go home and find themselves away from people and can remove the filthy mask covering up their lives. We don’t know what it takes for them to let loose whatever burdens there are that keep them captive. How alone they must be. Life is such a gift, and it can't be lived in our present if we're still living in our past. Many victims are still walking around believing that it was their fault, that maybe they did something to cause this destruction that has misshapen their lives. We have got to be built up so that we know that our opinion matters so that we know that our thoughts and well-being matters. We are all important, and it does not matter what happened in our past because second chances do exist. We have been given this precious gift, and it deserves to be lived! No one has the right to take that innocence away from us. In the same way, we must know that we are not alone and walk similar paths in life. Let someone in and forgive yourselves.
I have found that when people are in a fight for the essence of life, they feel as though they are in that fight alone. I know that we as supporters and those around them feel that we're there with them and for them but the truth of the matter is that we're not fighting that battle they are and because of this there's a separation, a distance if you will between everyone else and them. Unless we walk that lonely road or wear those tattered shoes, we never truly understand. Is Anybody Out There is a call out to say, “hey, you're not alone no matter how lonely you feel, you are not alone. It doesn't mean that I understand what you’re dealing with or what you're going through, but it does mean that you are not alone!” The message is that no matter what it is, there's someone out here who can help. There are so many others who might be going through the same or similar thing and may need your help.
“Loneliness is silence and since we were made for relationship that silence becomes a weight strapped to our feet and tossed into slowly sinking quicksand.”
I’ll stop there for now before I write a book, literally. My goal with this blog entry was to give some insight of the thoughts about the piece and where it came from so that when you listen to it, there is a reference of what I was thinking. There is a message with each piece in the book; sometimes, it’s buried underneath, other times it’s staring you in the face. This one may be missed, so I wanted to make it so plain because in the end, we are one!
One thing to note is that the exhaltation in the hook came about completely as a tired accident; I believe it was around 1:30 in the morning on a workday. Maybe it was complete deliriousness, but one off the cuff take was all it took, and once it was done, I never went back to change anything about it. The Social Media references just worked, and the 80's rhetoric felt so classic that it stuck as well; consequently, those are my favorite parts. I think that because it tells me that I’m not alone, that I’m important and valuable even when life says I’m not! Unfortunately, in the preview, you get none of those parts, but hey nothing in life is as perfect as it is in my head. The preview has been removed and the entire piece is ready for consumption.
As a side note, the parts that you heard in the preview, which is the beginning of the piece are supposed to be those little voices that you hear when life isn’t going so great. Come on, don’t act as you’ve never heard them before. Usually in cartoons, one is good, and the other is bad. In this case, it’s all bad baby. Let’s hit them with the realness of life and relationship 😊. I wanted my voice completely removed because you know I hate my voice but the producer/engineer left it which he’s way smarter than me, so I’m good with that.
Before I leave I'd like to give a special thanks, to CMI Beats, producer Shawn "OG CAN-NOE" Cannon, your efforts are as crafty as a cat with nine lives, you did your thing. You pulled out what was in my head, which can be scary most days, and you brought it to life. You caught the vision and put it on the express train to delivery. We didn’t speak about it much prior to getting started, but somehow you knew what I wanted, and you pulled the pieces together to make it so. I more than appreciate you! Cheryl, come on really, you did your thing too. I’m scared every time I hear your voice. Kevin Roberts, man, you umm, you brought a sobering realness that was I wanted but didn't know how to capture. You opened yourself up and beauty came out. Believe me your words will not fall on death ears. Thanks, Bambi, I know it was confusing and a tad embarrassing, but you sustained and added a flavor to things that was needed. I appreciate it. To everyone else who made this one come to life thank you.
Cannon, my man, you are a master mind and saw it through for me - my hat goes off to you.
In closing, hit up the page, Spoken Word, click the download button for Is Anybody Out There, listen to it then share it. It’s yours for free...
Stay tuned; there may be an entire VLOG about this one if I ever start.