Day 8 Lennon Awards! How did you write Once Again?
Day 7 and 8!
How did you write ONCE AGAIN? A little reminder to vote! Visit http://jlsc.com/vote and select ONCE AGAIN in the World category. Thank you so very much for your support!
Here my cowriter Rahman Jamaal Mc describes how he came up with his verse which completed the song…
The full lyrics to the song in english and spanish can be found on:
The composition of Once Again was an intense journey… it is my favorite and represents for me a true growth artistically and also potentially the most relevant message, it is a humble wish to live to see, hear and feel friends and family all over the world, once again.
Its construction was inverted from start to finish when comparing to the way I usually tackle songwriting, starting with music, harmony and melody. The original idea was not lyrical or melodic but rhythmic. I got this idea to fuse 2 contrasting beats for which I had live drum samples, afro-beat with heavy metal. So after spending hours creating drum track using tempo matched live drum samples, I laid down a first version with heavy electric guitars and a typical chord progression and lyrics. Not convinced with this version, I started again, laying down cuarto, a small 4 stringed instrument from Venezuela which has a very interesting tuning (A D F# B, open chord is an inversion of Bm7), and as a result, a very original voicing pattern resulted. Happy with the harmonic progression I tackled the bassline, trying version after version till I found one that fit, helping bind the cuatro and odd drum dynamics together.
Then sitting back and listening I all of a sudden heard harmonies, thick layered harmonies which became the signature of the track. I sat for days, listening to the instrumental track with harmonies, writing the verse and chorus over and over again till I almost gave into just leaving it as an instrumental. I had never released an instrumental track before and I knew I needed to write something that added to the track, not take away from the epic music. I figured, all in good time. Maybe this was a track that needed years to develop as others had been, and that I couldn’t write a lead line in time for this album that did it justice.
Almost given up I decided that I would focus on the instruments calling in trumpeteer Anthony Ant to lay some supportive trumpet lines. I kept on working the lines, finally coming up with a verse that I was relatively happy with and a few phrases during the choruses that didn’t take away from the beautiful harmonies. Jayme Arredondo, drummer, came in and relaid all the drums, with reference to a click track and the music. He rewrote them to better fit the dynamics of the song and leave room for the music. So interestingly, the piece that the entire track began with, the drums, was replaced in one of the last steps, a typical “no no” in the recording art, to overdub drums as one of the final tracks. But hey, it worked! Jayme’s drums gave new life to the track.
Synchronicity had it that while Rahman Jamaal (on Change track) was at the studio working on the Change music video, he heard the track, and within a couple of hours had written a second verse and recorded it on the spot. His energy complemented the track, adding the missing vocal element. I later chopped it up and integrated him into the choruses (as I had done with Change track). The final version of the choruses actually were given birth during the second to last mixing session (thanks James)! Still recording and arranging while mixing .. typical Renee production chaos.