About the Song ‘Lift You Up’
‘Lift You Up’ is the only song that has survived from my very first writing sessions. I wrote it sometime after my first band, Myriad, split in 2002. I did not write it about anyone in particular and can’t quite recall how I came to write it – but it was at a time when I was pedantic about scoring my music, and you can download a lead sheet for the song from Shaw Music Studios. While I feel that it may be a little immature, it was a song that always stuck with me. I felt its message was good and melodically it had something which hooked you. I keep thinking it’s a little pretentious saying “I’ll nurture you” and “can you feel the light within me”, but I hold the values of the song to be pure, nonetheless. I sometimes think it may reflect the views of a parent to a despondent child.
Danielle Edwards, a talented vocalist I worked with, recorded the song for the first time in early 2003 for her demo at my fledgling studio. She has kindly granted permission for me to use her recording of it and you can download it here for personal listening. On listening back to this early version, I was amazed to see the song has very similar string and orchestral arrangement ideas and that the core song remains. You can hear me singing the backing vocals in the choruses and bridge – whereas in my version I chose not to keep the backing vocals I had done, thinking the vocal stood well alone.
The song’s production started shortly after ‘Needs To’, but was drawn out from July to December 2010 and finally completed in January/February 2011. This period of time, I think, ultimately benefitted the recording, and I believe it has a better, cleaner and bigger sound. The mix and master came far quicker than ‘Needs To’. The orchestral arrangement came together very well and it is, sadly though, often lost in the mix on the full band production. For this reason, you can download an “orchestral, vocal and lead guitar” mix here. Enjoy!
About the Song ‘Lament For Sheena’
‘Lament For Sheena’ was written by Amiel Mathebula between early December 2003 to March 2004. He wrote the song after he came out of rehab and returned to “score” in Hillbrow (a suburb in Johannesburg) where he was informed that a “friend”, Sheena (and Amiel does not even know her full name), had died as a result of drug abuse. Days later he return to his parents’ home in Honeydew haunted by thoughts of Sheena’s short life. This was the inspiration to write the song.
Amiel recorded the original pop version with Jon Shaw (acting as his producer) in 2008. You can listen to it and find out more about Amiel here. You can view an interview featuring Jon Shaw and Amiel on YouTube. Jon Shaw recorded the song in his unique style from December 2010 and finished it in July 2011. The production of the song mirrors that of Amiel's original, with the only exceptions being the intro guitars and strings. Original violins, performed by Kristel Birkholtz, were kept for the end of the song (and simply pitch-shifted to the new key, being D).