Original songs from my band, KIRIDA (formed in 2008).
The band generally uses online sharing as its means to create new music, sending emails of new tracks & new raw recordings to each other and then jamming live in a studio to further develop the arrangements. All the songs here, except for Jealousy, were recorded at home.
Original songs from my band, KIRIDA (formed in 2008).
Blue Solace - December (music collab)
BLUE SOLACE - the music collaboration project by two people who are oceans apart- stretching from Manila to Missouri.
band profile: http://www.reverbnation.com/bluesolace
Members: Mahal Adams- vocals/guitar/piano, Nathan Weaver- vocals/lyrics
Sounds Like: Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, The Carpenters, Norah Jones
Bio: Blue Solace is a unique pairing indeed. Nathan is in the U.S. and Mahal is in the Philippines.
Back in the last couple of months of 2008, I started this music project with a guy whom I met in an online writing community. He was asking around if there was anyone up for the challenge of creating tunes for one of his poems, and I volunteered. Little did I know that it would turn into a very cool song collaboration even if both of us were worlds apart. Little did I know that the song would take us farther than the reaches of our little writing community. I never expected for the song to be played at a radio station in Missouri and I never expected to have a Skype interview for the same radio station with DJ Bootsy and my lyricist . It was surreal and fun and exciting and a booster to my creative juices.
But with all good things, there came many bumps on the road. There was lots of delays when it came to making more songs for our project band we now call Blue Solace. Slowly, but surely, I finally made my way into putting in more time and effort for 3 more songs with Nathan. We have a very small following, and the feedback about our music was warm to the heart.
This song, DECEMBER, is the first song we made. Somewhere at the back of my mind there is a tiny ‘me’ tugging at the creative parts of my brain, telling me that I should make more.
And I will.
I haven’t posted anything much in the past months. I’ve been busy getting my life back on track… actually, my life has revealed a whole new path for me and I have decided to take that road.
So far it’s been wonderful.
But that’s not the whole point of this post.
I just realized a few moments ago that the songs that I have been making all point to my spiritual awakening. It was as if my soul was talking to me through songs and it is only recently that I have really understood them.
I’ve been writing songs since I was fifteen (I’m 31 now) and most of them weren’t even about my own experiences. Some would become experiences in a year or two or more. This thought just makes me smile.
I hope these songs will reach out to the people very soon. I know it will :)
Kirida - Jealousy
“Jealousy” composed by Mahal Amanda Adams. Performed by Kirida.
Over the years, people have been asking me how I create my music. I don’t have a particular strict pattern. Honestly, things just flow and things just happen. I would either write lyrics first then play around on the piano or acoustic guitar until I find the right chord progression that fits the words. Or I’d come up with the instrumentation first then the words somehow just flows out. Sometimes it would be inspired from a certain existing song by some famous artist. A song would sometimes be complete in an hour, in a couple of days or more than a year. It would depend on the mood I’m in over a particular composition.
Most songs are a result of an emotional outlet. But surprisingly enough, many of the stuff I wrote were not based on my actual experiences. Funny though, that a handful of them were more like premonitions to love-related events that would happen years later. Weird.
The song “Jealousy” was inspired by a song by D’ Sound and I started off by humming parts of the lyrics and vocal melody and recording it around March of 2007. It took years to complete since I could not find the right words to finish it and those dead-end moments felt so frustrating. By the time my new band KIRIDA had formed, this song was finally finished. I kept in mind that in making a song, what do you want to tell your audience? What do you want to focus on?
We recorded at Skunk Productions in January of 2010, kind of chasing the clock because we wanted to submit it for a Valentine’s CD compilation album called INdie LOVE by Gusi Records. We didn’t make the cut though, which is no biggie.
Music has always been my muse, my mistress. She’s the best emotional outlet for any state of mind you’re in.
Jealousy is bringing me down
Jealousy, why can’t you leave me
Waking up to a midnight run
Trying hard to forget the images
That occupy my mind
Kissing all the lies
Keep your distance from me
Keep your what ifs
Keep your assumptions far from me
I don’t need to be
Drowned in thought
Is breaking me down
I don’t want to go further
Where I won’t be able to pick up myself
I don’t want to dig deeper
Enough is enough
Please leave me alone
You shouldn’t have told me
Tempting whispers that led me to be
Imprisoned with ignited flames
Dizzy with disillusions
© Mahal Amanda Adams 2010
Sampaguita, Mahal Amanda, The Amandas - Babalik Sa 'Yo renditions
“Babalik Sa ‘Yo” - The Original, The Development, The Favorite & The Settled.
Back in 2008 I was in a band called The Amandas. During that time, we were honored to be asked to be part of an album compilation along with other bands for the female rock icon of the Philippines, Sampaguita. The title of this album is called “Bagong Banda: Awit ni Sampaguita”. Here you will find how our rendition of the song “Babalik Sa Iyo” transformed and came to be.
On the track file above there are four parts separated by a wobble tape sound effect. I compiled only the last half of the song of each version to let you hear the variations on that same section. The first is Sampaguita’s original version. A very 70’s rock and roll vibe.
The second is my home sample recording. This is where the development stage starts to come in. You see, my belief in covering a song is very much different from what a lot of artists do. I would rather transform the music into how I would feel it to sound and yet not jeopardizing the original. Coming up with your own version with that belief is hard but once achieved it feels really good. It’s like discovering your own kind of cheeseburger but you cook or prepare it differently, but it’s still a cheeseburger.
What I managed to do is find a different lead vocal key that could merge with Sampaguita’s original as if in harmony if sung at the same time. I still included her original melody as the second voice. The chords and the arrangement stayed the same. Since the lyrics of the song means “Whatever you do will come back to you”, I thought of how to achieve a rendition that could reflect the lyrics in a more dramatic sense which would still fit just as the original had in an upbeat way. And thus the third rendition came to be.
Without really talking it over beforehand, the band and I were at the studio to basically come up with the new arrangements. They all had the same belief as I did and I was quite thrilled with the fact that they too wanted to do a whole different version and not just make it sound as a cover song. In one day (and I do not like to brag) we did it. You can hear the third segment of the audio file our dramatic version that, whenever I listen to it, makes me feel as if I’m flying. This was our favorite. We were sure it would become a favorite to many listeners and hopefully Sampaguita herself as well. But we were wrong. It was rejected.
In all respect to Sampaguita and the producers of the album, I understood why. Because the song had totally transformed into a different one that the only thing that obviously remained were the lyrics, even if the second voice was her original melody; even if the chords progressions hardly really changed; even if this and that— the main point was it sounded too different. I guess we went overboard on that one. We were asked to re-record it again, and as much as our hearts sank, we went and did it.
The fourth version in the audio file is the one that you will hear in the album itself. It sounds exactly the same as the original. The keyboards has a slightly evident difference though. It was injected with the ghost of our favorite version. Yes, we had frowns on our faces but at least it got accepted.
That was the journey of our infamous rendition of “Babalik Sa Iyo”, and I found out that another band is currently using our favorite version as their own where the only changes done were the lyrics. Melody and arrangements are the same. Can you spell originality or ethics? Is there such a thing as royalty payments for the vocal lead melody I had created? How about being credited? Hmmm…
Oh well. I guess that whatever was done did come back to us.
The Haneps - PAG-ASA
On doing voicing as I had done for the song “Pag-Asa” by The Haneps from their debut album Day View ©2010.
(Out now around Metro Manila’s music stores! Grab a copy or order online)
Making “Pag-Asa” was a lot of fun. It was one of those spontaneously creative song recordings that resulted in a very explosive head-tone mesh of sorts but came out as a whole in the end. I was honored to have been asked by The Haneps to add some voicing to it, almost on the spot. Good thing I was already familiar with the song’s melody, and what I contributed came out naturally.
When one does voicing, one is trying to represent a chord. It is like the shadow or the haunting answering echo that trails the lead vocal’s melody. It must always blend, unless the artist, of course, forces it not to sound as such. But basically, it creates and gives depth to a song that would sound better with it than without. During the mastering of your recorded song, try to remember to keep the additional voices behind or lower than the lead voice and lead instruments, unless you are like Wilson Philips or Boys II Men or… who’s the newer boy/girl bands these days? Anyway, you get the picture. When trying to do second or third voices, the piano will help in finding you your desired additional notes. If you don’t know how to play the piano or guitar, there are lots of chord charts on the web.
When I was much younger, I got myself involved in school chorales (choirs. think GLEE.) and musical theater stage plays. It was a better training ground (for me) to start with than having a one-on-one session with a vocal coach. Why do you ask? Because it trained my ears and my voice to multi-task. I’m not saying one should do away with vocal coaches. No. What I’m trying to say is, once you’ve had experience with a singing group and then go off on your own, that’s when you can find your own style and your own voice.
In chorale, sections would usually sit together during practice, and when you hear a weird vibrating sound as all of you sing, it’s either you or the person next to you is flat or sharp. Now if you sit with different sections to each of your side (which is a scary thought for many choirs), you would learn to become confident in your own notes. You would eventually define the notes that you are hitting. You’d know when you’re blending, and there’s that swelling feeling of harmony that always makes me smile.
Through the years of singing, playing the piano and the guitar, each note is essential. That goes for voices, too. And because I was an alto, who then became a (self-proclaimed) mezzo-soprano, I learned how to put the proper voicing into songs. Singing along to your favorite radio songs is good practice. It’s a challenge to come up with a second voice for a song that has none, and it’s fun to do too. Who cares if the car next to you can see you sing? Hahaha.
Big thanks to the boys of The Haneps for having me on-board this song, and to Dodjie Garcia of Skunk Productions for not only recording the whole album in his awesome studio, but for singing in this single as well. Oooh, bet you didn’t know that!
This song is now playing at UR105.9 and NU107.5. You can vote for it. You’ll find the details on The Haneps website.
Mahal Adams - BATTLE WITHIN
BATTLE WITHIN by Mahal Amanda Adams © 2010
This is the original English version of my previous Tagalog song post called “Alinlangan” which was featured in a short film called “TUKSO”. I finished composing this way back in Oct. 11, 2002— GASP! Yesterday was it’s 8th year anniversary. Whaddyaknow! Haha, that is so cool. I didn’t even realize it until I flipped through my song log.
Yes, a song log. A notebook where you scribble down the words and the chords to a potential song in the making. Every musician must have one, keep it and protect it. Don’t forget to write down the date of when you started writing a song or when you have completed one.
Going back to “Battle Within”, I presented this version first to the film’s director, Raz, in May of 2010 during the music score production time line and he instantly liked it because of the message that the words and the melancholy of the melody which portrayed his protagonist very well. He then requested to have it translated into Tagalog to match the Filipino essence of his short film which I thought was a very good idea, since his film was to be shown in London and it would kind of promote the Philippine culture through sight and sound.
Battle Within and Alinlangan were recorded at Dodjie Garcia’s studio called Skunk Productions, with Inigo Mortel on guitar and me on vocals.
Mahal Amanda Adams - ALINLANGAN (Tagalog version)
“Alinlangan” by Mahal Amanda Adams © 2010
Featured in a short film written & directed by my good friend Raz De La Torre for his London Film School project called TUKSO (international title: “Missed Education”. Click link to see IMDb. Ei look! I’m on IMDb! —lol). This song became the emotional ambiance for the story’s entire plot. Well, that’s how I saw and felt about it.
This song that I made was originally written and recorded in English (that version I will post on another day). It tells of the frustrations of waking up to a morning that basically does not seem appealing to the person anymore. Feelings of being alone and lost and unappreciated encircle the lyrics. Don’t we all go through that at some point in our precious little lives?
I was honored to have been chosen by Raz to be the creator of his film’s entire music score. The film, which lasts for about 40mins, was a challenge compared to working with him in a previous 3-minute film project (that too I will talk and post about later on). I took my inspirations on what it takes to make a score from John Williams and Howard Shore who are, for me, the genius composers of my lifetime. It’s not easy to make a film score. You don’t get to act the hero and dictate what you want. It’s a relationship between the story, the director, and the composer. You need to understand all the elements that envelope the story. Otherwise, you will just create a soggy piece of supposed art. You must be keen with the edit points that match the visuals. The soundtrack, which most people apparently do not pay attention to while watching movies, is an essential key that makes you cry, laugh or get terrified. It is what makes the movie complete. Remember silent movies? They were all just music and no voice.
I also included into the film’s score my band’s original songs which you can listen to here: KIRIDA
The process of making a film score requires lots of patience and creativity. I would usually listen to other kinds of music to refresh my ears for a while then go back to working on it again. That method really helps. Try it.
So just last Oct 2, 2010, Raz held a special film screening at his beautiful home and invited many guests. I finally got to see the film with my “babies” playing in the background. It was surreal. It was fun. It was… nerve-wrecking! I’m so happy it turned out really well.
I’d like to thank Inigo Mortel (member of the bands The Haneps, Mighty Man, Gin Rhum N’ Truth, Mahasa, I-Ray & Kirida) for helping me translate the words into Tagalog and for putting his guitar skills into the song. The instrumental part that he injected into it gives me an LSS (last song syndrome). Also would like to thank Dodjie Garcia of Skunk Productions for the recording sessions, and to Raz for giving me another great opportunity to work with him. Can’t wait for the next!