Hello to all those reading this. It's me... blogging again :)
After releasing French Rain, my producer Will and I have devised a collaborative Q&A that breaks down the individual roles in the process of writing and producing a song 😁
These are my answers to a producer's questions on songwriting. To read my questions about producing, answered from the producers point of view, please check out... https://willturnerbass.wixsite.com/producer/post/french-rain-troi-q-a
What inspired the song….what is it about?
So French Rain was written when I was in France, funnily enough. Summer of 2020 (in that small window of opportunity we could go abroad😀), I went to my boyfriend's family house in the south of France, a place called Cassagnoles - it was very hot and very beautiful with lots of nature and greenery. The beach was an hour or so away but we didn’t go because I was told that the rivers were better than the beach, which seemed pretty surprising to me coming from England! But when we travelled up these mountains and got to these gorgeous clear water streams, it made a lot of sense! There were huge waterfalls and trees surrounding us and the sun reflected the water off the rocks, like little magic fairy pools - honestly it was magical. I did post a few pictures of my time there but I will find some more videos because it was truly amazing, it probably won’t do it justice though.
Anyway I felt like I had been whisked away to this dream-like, peaceful fairy land - so tranquil and zen on this hot day, bathing in cool water. Then, on the car drive home there was a thunderstorm. I remember sitting in the car with the windows down (it was still so humid) and I felt this lightness and a feeling of freedom wash over me; this combination of reminiscing on the amazing day we just had whilst simultaneously experiencing this refreshing thunderstorm. I could literally smell the change in the air (there is a word for this - it’s called Petrichor) and I thought to myself ‘can I describe the smell of the rain?’, which is the first line of my song French Rain. I often take the time to notice what’s happening around me and within me and I thought the rain smelt like the ‘warm shimmers of a campfire’, (second line of the song). At this point I was very much inspired and I got my phone out and just started writing lyrics; I felt so peacefully happy, like nothing bad would ever happen again. A lot of times when I write songs, it’s because I have a feeling or thought that I want to capture the essence of, to remember it - like a time capsule, it’s a way to express my feelings in that moment and music brings more than just words, it combines feelings too.
I wanted to remember this amazing day forever, I felt very grateful to have been there, experienced all of this beauty and also to have been able to take a step back and be aware of how beautiful everything was, noticing the smallest details without taking it for granted. And this is what the song is all about! It captures my feelings in this beautiful place and on the car ride home during a thunderstorm and I describe some of the things I saw that day that were just sensational - it’s all there. I feel the production compliments this upfliting, grateful, joyful feeling and I hope that I can bring others the same joy!
Did you have a purpose or specific message in mind for the song?
Yes, all of my songs have inwards and outward meaning as they are contemplations of my mind in a period of time and I hope that others can relate to them too.
Whilst French Rain was inspired by my trip to France and is a time capsule of a gorgeous day, place and feeling, the message behind French Rain is to notice more, appreciate more and be more aware. It’s easy to live life caught up in the stress and ‘to do’s’ of everyday life and dramas. I have seen and experienced the stress that this can cause and how this big beautiful world can feel so small. It is a habit that I find many people are stuck in, especially in the 21st century, as work and life are so fast-paced and society expects so much of us. It makes us bustle around and we tend to complain about what little time we have to do things and get angry at our lives, the world and even the people around us. Of course I am guilty of this too sometimes but I am aware of how toxic it is for our minds, our bodies and our happiness and I have taught myself to become more self-aware, to live more presently and notice unhealthy habits so that I can try to fix/improve them. It became apparent to me by doing this, how effective it was in learning to live more freely, happily and energised. I feel if I had gone to this place in France a few years ago, it would have been lovely but I would not have been able to appreciate it on a deeper level like I did that day. I have trained my mind to stop and notice beautiful things that happen in my life - feelings, people and experiences and I consciously cherish them and love them and feel grateful for them. This is what I would love this song to do for others, give them the ability to take themselves out of the hecticness of life sometimes and be able to notice a good thing when it’s right in front of you. This is a topic that I could talk about for hours as there are so many benefits to looking after your mind and choosing to live this way and I would be happy to go into more detail for anyone who is intrigued. But, for the purpose of this blog and my song French Rain, the message is to become more aware of the beautiful things in the world, there are so many of them around us all the time 😁
What obstacles did you overcome in the process of writing and recording?
One obstacle was that I didn’t have my guitar with me in France 😞 so I had to wait until I got home to put melody and chords to the lyrics I had written which was a little annoying but it turned out to be worth the wait 😀
To be honest the whole writing and recording process I found pretty fun and easy. Working with Dan at Sanctuary Studios and producer Will Turner was great, they were both really easy to work with and made me feel at ease. They were dedicated to ensuring the recording and production was perfect and that we had the takes we needed and then bringing all the ideas together with wonderful productions.
One of my main obstacles, from both a technical and emotional point of view, was juggling two different people who were working on the same track, I was the middle man and had to get messages across to both parties without it becoming out of control. I’m really happy with how it all turned out and my decision to include both Dan and Will in the making of French Rain turned out perfectly. They were both great to communicate with, I felt they both really understood the track and wanted to keep it as authentic as possible and not to take away from the overall song. They did a great job of keeping the message clear which I really appreciated and I was included throughout the recording and production process, letting them know my thoughts and feelings so things could be changed and adapted as we went along. This resulted in me absolutely loving the track 😍 it’s perfect! Thank you so much Dan and Will for everything!
How do you think this song differs from your earlier work?
An interesting and difficult question. I have written a million songs prior to French Rain but for this I will focus on songs that are already released onto Spotify as a comparison.
Some of my other releases ‘ I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’ and ‘Mindfulness’ have more differences when comparing them to ‘French Rain’. Both of those tracks have fuller productions whereas French Rain is more laid back. It’s a hard question to answer because my music is subjective to me but I would be very interested in hearing other people's answers to this question.
French Rain brings a more acoustic folk feel (which I really love) than some of my other songs and it’s funny because I do tend to disassociate myself from my EP (Preconceived) when I think about earlier works as I wrote it for my final dissertation at university and don’t think of it as part of my discography. Whereas all of this EP was acoustic folk, it was not necessarily a conscious decision for it to turn out this way whereas French Rain was deliberately created to keep that singer/songwriter chill feel to it and the production compliments this perfectly.
I think the theme of being aware of the moments in life runs through most of my songs and ties them together as I tend to think philosophically about things but maybe in French Rain there is more descriptive imagery than some of my earlier songs. What do you think?
What is your favourite part of creating a song from concept to receiving the final master?
Hmmmm well choosing a favourite part is hard to say. I love the journey, I love writing the song and performing it live - that's what I do first, I love sharing it with others to get more familiar with the song, as well as seeing people's reactions to it. This usually makes or breaks the song for me, if I play it live a few times and I’m just not feeling it then it is less likely to make the cut and be forgotten about 😄. Those that I love and get a good response from I continue to play and by doing that I tend to solidify the song until I’m comfortable enough to record it. The recording process can be fun and can be stressful, depending on who I am working with. The style in which we work together can have a big impact on how I feel about where the track is going and my love for it. After I’ve sent my producer the recording I do love hearing the first production of the track because I have no idea what to expect and it is exciting to hear how they have developed my track and the direction it's going. It gives me a sense of ‘yay my baby is coming to life’ 😍. My songs start to feel fuller, more exciting and more professional. So yeah, I think it’s always exciting to get first drafts back from producers but also a bit nerve wracking too. Of course a favourite part of the process is having that final master where all the hard work is done, it’s finished and I can wack it through my speakers or in the car and listen to this fully formed track that I wrote and feel proud of. So yeah, I guess it’s hard to pinpoint my favourite part but there are some gems throughout the process 😀.
Thanks for reading my Q&A: These are my answers to a producer's questions on songwriting. To read my questions about producing, answered from the producers point of view, please check out https://willturnerbass.wixsite.com/producer/post/french-rain-troi-q-a
Look forward to oversharing with you next time.... Enjoy your life 💚
Troi 💜 xoxo