Stream the New Single “Life Afloat” on Soundcloud Now!
The first single from MazzMuse: The CD is now streaming on Soundcloud!
We thought it fitting to celebrate by posting “Life Afloat” today, November 15: Exactly one year from the day the MazzMuse Band went into the studio with Vernon Reid to begin recording and exactly one month before the release of that CD.
We hope you like it and really look forward to celebrating with you at the CD Release Party on December 19 at Black Bear Bar in Williamsburg, NYC!
THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG
(Or: How My Two Year Old Niece, Millie, Has Come To Call It “Millie’s Song”)
I drove from NYC to New Orleans in 2012 to witness my sister give birth to her first child. At the time, I had the verse and chorus of this song already written but was struggling for a bridge. I felt the song was incomplete without it.
Sometime during the course of the long (22 hour!!) drive down, I started humming a melody that I really liked and figured I would just keep humming it over and over again as I drove to help keep me awake. Using the voice memo on my phone, I started recording. Every time I would come up with an idea I would record it and then hum it about 10 or 20 times until I knew I wouldn’t forget it. If I made a change, I went back and re-recorded it and then would keep repeating that to myself. If I added on to it, I’d do the same: re-record and keep humming. This melody became my bridge: it was pretty stuck in my head by the time I got to New Orleans, but the words didn’t come until after I had witnessed the birth of my niece, Camille (who we lovingly call “Millie” in honor of my maternal grandmother, Mildred). To say it was an inspiring moment is to make a gross understatement. To say it was a perspective shifting, and therefore LIFE-changing, moment just about begins to come close to what I felt.
Beyond that, I can’t really describe exactly how I came to each actual lyric, except to say that I just let the muse take over. I worked on the lyrics on the way back north the way I worked on the melody on the way down south: recording, repeating, changing, re-recording, re-repeating, etc…
I let the rhythm of the music fit the timing of the words, so that’s how we end up with a slightly irregular set of time signatures in the song. My aim was to do so while keeping it sounding and feeling as natural as possible. I think I did a good job of it. I’m proud of the song. And I feel I can say I really love it because it reminds me more of my niece – and all the promise I believe comes with being a newborn – than it does of myself.
Inspired by my niece, this song is my secular anthem; my ode to the human spirit and how unexpected and powerful it is.
THE CONCEPTS INSIDE THE SONG
Life Afloat – The quintessential Secular Anthem that refers to Dead Reckoning (a form of navigation which precedes all tools of navigation, including celestial navigation) as a metaphor for how one may get through life without religion or ‘God’.
Life Afloat is a germ of an idea. Picture yourself on a boat, in the middle of a sea. No land for miles. You have a map but no compass. But you know from where you’ve come and you know where you want to go. You’ve been offered prototypes of a compass but the concept hasn’t been perfected yet and you’ve seen other mariners use these prototypes to their detriment. They are lost — never to be found again. So you decide to use what you know, based on knowledge gained before the trip as well as the data that keeps coming in about your speed, the ever changing outside elements, etc…
Life Afloat queries: “What’s this holy land? It makes us promises, then fades away…” Ponders on the empty promises of life, riches, physical pleasure, honor, respect and glory only after this life is over. The song rejects this premise and instead offers an alternative way to go: let’s use what we have learned already in order to intelligently move forward, knowing that with new information we will have to be flexible enough to correct our course. Now is now and all we have is the information for this moment. We leave our egos behind in favor of honoring the truth, knowing that this is the true path to freedom.
Life Afloat posits that because we ARE captains of our own ships, and even though there are forces outside of us that affect our lives, in the end if we don’t actually grab ahold of the controls, we will be driven willy-nilly. Just as the force and direction of the wind along, across, behind (tailwind) or against (headwind) the bow of your ship – or the strength and direction of the undertow of the sea itself – may affect the calls you make on which way you steer your rudder, turn your wheel, position your boat; just as these things are true, it is also true that it is up to us to decide how we will handle ourselves in relation to the force and direction of life’s challenges and opportunities. The song asks of its listeners “Where do you stand with this? Are we on the same page? Can we plan to move forward, taking things by and by?” and also reminds us that the truth is in our hands and that there is “Nothing like this moment…”
“And when we put in our time and all our love, maybe we’ll realize that we are Gods and there’s nothing else above. Yeah maybe this time we’ll be fine with the mundane divine, and we’ll find that the sky is so open wide!”