Friday, June 29, 2012

Song Story: 'Transformed'

'Transformed' is the only co-write on this EP, and was written several years ago with Matthew West.  Matthew and I got together to potentially write something for my first record, Every Reason Why, and 'Transformed' is what came out of our time together.  Again, I often try to write worship tunes from the perspective of the things I would want to say to God while sort of lost in worship. I had been thinking about the very simple premise of asking God not to let us leave unchanged and Matthew really resonated with that, so we started playing and singing and lyrics and melodies began forming. I believe the main hook of the chorus came first: "Inside out, upside down, backwards, forwards, turned around" ... it was shaping up to be a driving song about letting God truly shape us--even if it's uncomfortable.  We really liked the idea of centering the lyric around what so many of us struggle with in the midst of a worship service in our society... so we started with this admission of arriving distracted, worn out and disconnected.  That seemed to really set the tone of a song about asking God to meet us in our humanity and transform us.

Another song on Every Reason Why shared a similar mold to this one, so it ended up not being on that first record. The congregation at my church was really resonating with it, though.  A few months later my publisher at the time told me that someone was looking for a song and the theme of there gathering was 'Inside Out'... we reworked the chorus to make it start and end with that phrase, and while they didn't go with it either, a 'tween group called PureNRG really liked it.  Matthew reworked the lyrics a little more to fit that demographic, and 'Inside Out' was born. :)

Fast-forward to this year, the original lyric and form of the tune, this one entitled 'Transformed,' finally got recorded... Honestly, I was really nervous going into the recording process with this one, but I feel like it landed right where it needed to and the feedback I've gotten has been surprisingly strong. A couple people have even told me it was their favorite tune on the EP.

From a songwriter's standpoint, songs like this can seem like they mostly live inside an almost novelty category, but I've always thought there were some subtle touches to this one that made me proud of Matthew and my efforts:  the re-harm of the chords inside the verses as they repeat, the signature major 2 over 4# that I can't seem to stay away from :), and lyrics like "Divinely directed, I long to stand corrected" among others.  Early on as I played this song in church and on the road, I started intersperse the half-time feel throughout the song as it felt appropriately unsettled to go with the lyric. That feel obviously ended up playing a big role in the production of the version heard on Beautiful Truth.  One last note: the intro was actually added the day I sent the final tracks off to mix as I felt like there needed to be some tension and build before the band exploded into the half-time groove at the beginning... searched for some crazy sounds, read some great verses that have to do being transformed and that intro actually ended up being one my favorite moments on the record! 

Next up is the title track 'Beautiful Truth'... the last one written for the EP.  Check back soon!

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