I lifted this picture from her site. With her permission. Because I'm ethical. Sorta.
Chances are, if you're Mormon, you've probably heard some of her songs. Like this. Or this. Or this.
She is a well known composer, and runs a pretty famous website known for being a place where you can download good, playable music for free.
Anyway, I've known her music for many years as a violinist and as a person who has sung in tons of ward choirs. So, imagine my surprise one day when she showed up on my blog's Facebook page saying that she had read my blog. I was shocked and flattered! "Golly gee," I said. "That makes my day!"
I thought nothing more of it. Until she messaged me one afternoon and asked me to write a song with her.
So, you know how sometimes dreams are really weird, and you dream that a celebrity shows up and interacts with you like it's totally normal and not at all weird? That's the feeling I had after this moment. I was like "Um, Lolly, Sally DeFord reads my blog. And she wants to write a song with me. And have me record it. In her studio. Also, is this a dream? Does my face look distorted to you? Like a Picasso? Do we live in a castle? Can I fly?" *tries to fly* *fails*
Turns out, it wasn't a funky dream. She was actually asking me.
And when I asked her why, she was equally baffled. She was like "um, I just feel like I should. Like God is telling me to do this with you." Which is the only possible explanation, because the thing she saw on my blog that indicated I might actually be able to do this? Yeah. It was this rendition of Trololo I did as complete joke a couple of years ago. (Yes, Lolly did make that trellis out of hangers, and yes, that was 87% of the reason I made that video.) Also Sally doesn't typically even do collaborations (with a few exceptions).
So yeah, obviously there was spiritual finagling going on. Or Sally is crazy. Or Sally likes weird Russian TV shows. One of those three things.
No, but really it was that first thing. Because when we actually started writing the song, it turned out that our visions of the message we needed to share were so identical that it shocked both of our spouses that we hadn't discussed it before hand. Our ideas converged beautifully, and I'm actually really moved by the song we ended up creating together. It feels like the theme song to this blog, maybe. Or at least to our coming out post. Like, if I could put the sentiment of how I hope all families would treat their gay loved ones into music, this would be that song.
She's releasing that song today, and I wanted you to know about it. I'm not a professional vocalist by any stretch of the imagination, but with Sally's help, I feel like we got a recording that ended up being something I feel good about. I hope you enjoy it.
Here it is:
And here is the page on Sally's site which has the recording, the sheet music and the accompaniment track. (I'll talk about doing the recording in a later post, complete with pictures of me standing awkwardly at the mic. and also a picture of us near kissing camels made of stone).
I hope you download the music (for free) and sing the music yourself. I hope you feel the spirit of its message, and find a way to convey it so that it becomes your own. I'm sure there are MUCH more amazing versions of this song that can be created. And I'd love, absolutely love, to hear you performing this song. Therefore I have decided to host:
The "Only Love" Vocal Competition
So, here's the deal.
Sally and I have talked, and I've decided that I really would love to see the message of this song conveyed by many people. I'd love to see how you would sing this song. She doesn't have room to put all of the renditions we receive permanently on her website. But we will select the top three and give them placement on the song's page of her website, to be there forevermore. In addition there will be a prize for the top three renditions. First place will win $100, Second, $75 and Third, $50.
At the same time, I want to celebrate anybody who takes the time to make this song their own. Because of this, I've decided that I will feature all of the submissions here on my blog. I'm anxious to see your interpretation, and the spirit with which you sing.
So, here are the contest details. All entries need to be received by Sunday June 30th, 2013. Please upload your version to youtube (you can either video-record yourself singing, or you can use , and then send a link to your version to joshua (dot) weed (at) gmail (dot) com. (Please note that that's joshUA weed.) Give your name and contact information, and any story behind your version, or feelings that you had as you prepared your submission. Feel free to use the sheet music as well as the accompaniment track which are both found at Sally's site here.
I will form a small committee (of musicians more professional than me!) who will help me narrow down ten semifinalists (depending on how many entries we receive of course), and then I will put those out for a public vote. The public vote will narrow it down to the top five. Then Sally and I will award prizes based on a combination of public appeal, and the spirit we feel each version conveys.
I hope anybody who feels the desire to sing will find a pianist or use the accompaniment track and show us their beautiful voice. This competition is not looking for the best singers in the world--that should be clear in the fact that my recording is out there! Instead, I'm hoping to see good singing as well as singing that comes from the heart and conveys the message of love and acceptance of others that Sally and I saw as we wrote this song. Be brave! Show us what you've got!
All right, I better go. I have another really important (to me) post I'm working on. I think it'll be up on Thursday. It's about a hard subject (porn). So be prepared.
Before I go though, again, the pertinent links:
Here is Sally's page where you can find the sheet music (along with everything else).
Here is a link to where you can download the accompaniment track.
Here is a link to where you can download my version to hear the vocals.
Get downloading. And singing. (And if there are only three entries, then by golly, you are an automatic winner!!!)