Darling Daughter, Defying Gravity and The Day We “Cut A Record”

I mentioned last time that I now have a backlog of “posts pending” – I seem to continually add new post ideas to my blogging notebook but then write about other things instead. In order to start making inroads into this long list of ideas I have now put them on a spreadsheet, sorted them alphabetically, given each one a number and then, to make it a bit more interesting, used a random number generator to select the next “post idea”. (You can probably tell I work in finance and am by nature a very spreadsheety kind of person.)

Well, number 37 popped up and what did that correspond to on the long list of ideas? – “Musical Theatre and Wicked”. Before you start panicking that I’m about to share a whole load of show tunes with you, let me explain this little bit of self-indulgence. A couple of our good friends have been very successful on the career front (didn’t rub off on us sadly), but have not had any children. There is probably a correlation there but the upside is, when it comes to birthday presents, darling daughter is bestowed with some very nice ones. Just before her 16th birthday a rectangular padded envelope arrived and much speculation went on as to what could be inside. It turned out to be one of those Experience packages where she was given the chance to visit a recording studio and lay down some tracks. Being a keen singer, and having been in a few theatre shows up to that point, there was much excitement, and in due course the experience was booked for a Sunday in August.

thOW7E3LIT

As the good friends live in London and we live in the Scottish Highlands, we chose the recording studio in Edinburgh, which was listed as an option, and planned a meetup. The timing coincided with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and if you’ve never been to our capital city in August I would thoroughly recommend it (although accommodation is hard to come by, granted). I’m pretty sure the locals who just want to go about their daily business during the month of August get pretty hacked off with it all but it certainly brings a colourful, carnival atmosphere to the city and many a stand-up comedian has cut his or her teeth in one of the many venues.

Darling daughter was given the choice of which show she wanted to see on the Saturday night and she chose one starring those very nifty street dancers, Flawless. I was sceptical that they would  be able to hold our attention for a whole hour and a half but you know what, they did. The audience were also all given fluorescent gloves and after a short lesson on “the moves” we had to make, we were projected on a big screen behind the dancers, so all very interactive.

And so it came to the Sunday, and we made our way to the recording studio which turned out to be in an Industrial Estate in Leith. Sadly there was no sunshine on Leith that day and Abbey Road it was most definitely not, but once we arrived, the “producers” were all really friendly and welcoming – I’m pretty sure they would have preferred to spend their afternoon laying down some tracks with a cool new rock band as opposed to a 16-year-old from the Highlands and her extended family, but if they did, they didn’t show it.

The song of choice that day was Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked, based on the alternative telling of L. Frank Baum’s classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Around that time the television show Glee, about an American High School glee club/show choir, was a firm favourite with darling daughter and her friends, and one of the characters in the show had performed the song in a recent episode. Of course now her musical tastes are very different and I know she would be very embarrassed about me sharing this but hey, I’m a proud mum, she never reads my blog and it’s the most anonymous place on the internet, so here is what she came up with on that day. It was a fascinating process, how you record many versions of the same song, do a bit of tweaking and then cut and paste sections together to create the best version possible. She starts off a bit tentatively but after 1:00 the confidence shines through.

Defying Gravity by “Darling Daughter”:

As I said earlier, this was always going to be a very self-indulgent post but this 2003 song by Stephen Schwartz is, for the reasons above, now very much one of the “tracks of my years” and that is exactly what this blog is all about. The lyrics of the song are about living without limits and going against the rules that others have set for you. For darling daughter’s generation I think that can-do attitude is going to be very important as they try to negotiate this brave new world we seem to find ourselves in.

Until next time….

Defying Gravity Lyrics
(Song by Stephen Schwartz)

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity
And you won’t bring me down

I’m through accepting limits ’cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change but ’til I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love, it comes at much too high a cost!

I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you won’t bring me down

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

10 thoughts on “Darling Daughter, Defying Gravity and The Day We “Cut A Record””

  1. That’s a brilliant, one-of-a-kind 16th birthday present! I saw Wicked in London and Defying Gravity was the most memorable song to me.

    I’d like to be a “spreadsheety person”. I think the structure would help me achieve more in a day.

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    1. Oh Chris, the “spreadsheety” thing is also a curse as my whole life is on spreadsheets and I get a bit stressed it they’re not all up-to-date at any one time – Best to be a bit more laid back about things probably, but just the way I am!

      As for the birthday present, yes it was a really good one and we all really enjoyed our day in the recording studio – I’ve always loved listening to music but it was great to see how they make the recordings in the first place.

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  2. Ah, what a great 16th birthday pressie. I think my best was a Boots eyeshadow selection box and a record token 😉 Such a sweet rendition of a difficult song, your DD has a lovely, pure voice and it’s great that you’ll always have this recording (and great photos) to remind you of that weekend. But we’ll keep it secret!
    Spreadsheets? – I envy your organisational skills! My notebook is full of scribbles, it’s all very random, and I don’t even manage to keep to straight lines, or to consecutive pages – but I have a visual memory, so I find what I want by using a snapshot in my head of what the page looked like and whereabouts in the book it is. Not really recommended in business, but I also seem to manage with being full-time self-employed so it must work for me!
    Anyway a lovely post, and which number will be up next? It’s like the lottery!

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    1. Yes it was a good present and I too think she has a sweet voice, but then I’m biased!

      As an artist I would be really surprised if you were a “spreadsheety” person (but keep on doing what you’re doing, as it must work for you) – Mr WIAA certainly isn’t either but fortunately for him I keep his business/life organised, otherwise there would be chaos. As I said to Chris above however, it is a bit of a curse as I get really stressed if the spreadsheets are not all up-to-date. It is actually bizarre how I have become so engrossed with writing my blog over the last year as I’ve spent the last 35 years of my working life pretty much only working with numbers/codes/formulas – I expect the balance was all out of kilter so this is me rectifying it. As for the lottery number re which post is up next, it will only apply when I am stuck for inspiration and there are a few posts coming up relating to the time of year – always like those.

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  3. Well this is quite lovely. It won’t surprise you to learn that I’d never heard ‘Defying Gravity’ before today, but it didn’t matter one jot. As C says, it sounds like a tricky song to pull off, but DD handles the vocals deftly and with a delightful lightness of touch. An inspired present and a never to be forgotten day I should think. I’d love to be let loose in a recording studio for a day – as long as there was someone around to play all the instruments!
    As for organisation, I’m afraid I’m neither a spreadsheet or notebook keeper. I’m more your random scraps of paper in a big pile kinda guy! Fortunately I do my own accounts online now, so only have myself to blame, but back when I had the shop I’m sure I was the bane of my accountant’s life, poor chap.

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    1. No I didn’t really think you would be a show tunes person and to be fair DD now follows some really cool and quirky artists but back then this was the song of choice. I don’t know if it’s just that they have more opportunities nowadays but she has done so much more in her young life than I ever will in terms of performing – A 5 week (paid) run at our local theatre, the finals of Starquest at her school, loads of amateur musical theatre shows and the trip to the recording studio. All I had was being dressed up as a Beetle as a very young child holding a red guitar and dancing to a Beatles track, a few school plays and those paltry guitar lessons that didn’t really work for me. I’m jealous but have experienced it all vicariously so almost as good.

      Each to their own on the organisation front – I am too anal about it all and get very uptight if everything is not in order but means there are no last minute panics on the tax return front etc. so has its upside!

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      1. I wasn’t boasting about my organisational abilities – I was bemoaning my consistent lack of them! I always used to quote Travis Bickle, ‘One of these days I gotta get myself organizized’, but, much like my dream of learning how to play the guitar, I think I’ve left it a bit late in the day for that!

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        1. Ha ha – No I got that. Being too organised can be a bit of a hindrance though. My mantra is that I like being spontaneous, as well as it’s well planned in advance!

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  4. I’m afraid spreadsheets have long been anathema to me, though I am finally teaching myself to you them in the workplace through necessity. I still think excel is an unnecessarily complex programme and what’s wrong with a notebook and scraps, anyway!?! (My distressed other half is on your side though.)

    A lovely post and wonderful memories for you all. A tender performance that benefits from its fragility: so often these days voices are autotuned to death and that quality is lost.
    I did a fair bit of performing in my youth but there is no physical evidence, not even a photograph. I only have my unreliable memories. I wish there was a little more I could look back on…

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    1. I’m afraid I have a spreadsheet for just about everything at home and at work but totally understand that they are not for everyone. I think my work colleagues would get a shock if they visited this place as our world is very much one of few words but many, many numbers and codes (I suspect like your other half’s). Been fun this last year exploring the wordy side of life though as haven’t done much writing since school days really and that’s a long time ago!

      Yes quite a delicate and sweet performance with very little tweaking – It was a really enjoyable afternoon and it was great that the present-givers could be there too. Shame there are no photographs of you treading the boards (if that’s what it was?) – Sadly when DD was at school there were blanket bans on taking photographs of children in shows so we have very little of her either and nothing from the 5-week run in the Christmas pantomime. Maybe best to have the memories in your head though as they can never then be accidentally lost or deleted from a hard drive as is wont to happen.

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