By Hans Ebert
Often one wishes there was another word other than “finalist” when it comes to everything surrounding competitions. Sure, there needs to be a winner, but, perhaps, there can be co-winners.
In our recent songwriting competition built around the short story about Madison looking for inspiration, Nine Year Sister were named winners- and deservedly so as their original titled “Imagination” ticked all the boxes- and more.
It’s not only a beautiful song with some gorgeous harmonies, but tells the story of the main character Madison in ways I hadn’t thought about.
Same with the song submitted by Ingrid White from Cameroon.
Ingrid is a co-finalist in what is not really a competition, but something that’s hopefully more of a fusion of songwriters from all over the world interpreting someone else’s story in their own ways. It’s always good to get other perspectives on something to which you might be too close.
Like Nine Year Sister and other co-finalist Ryan Lee, the only entry from Hong Kong- and more about this city’s moribund music “scene”, and perhaps why this is at a later date and if there’s any cure in sight- Ingrid White knows her way around writing a song.
There’s also an enthusiasm listening to her speak about collaborations and the excitement in creating something new.
What she writes is not formulaic schlock. It’s original. The group of musicians, arrangers, producers and writers who were part of the judging panel, intuitively knew this when hearing the songs Ingrid- and others-submitted.
They heard and saw The Big Picture.
For myself, other than her voice and ability to write excellent original material, also impressive is that Ingrid has worked with names like arranger, producer and musician Larry Klein, who created wonderful work with Joni Mitchell during her move towards Jazz, and the brilliant session guitarist Dean Parks.
Dean Parks is a personal hero. Here’s someone who’s worked with practically everyone including Steely Dan and Michael Jackson. I know: Wow.
To bring together musicians and artists in all aspects of creativity from around the world like Nine Year Sister, Ingrid White and others is why Open Space was created.
It’s why I wrote the story of Madison and her search for Inspiration which is now translated into Chinese.
It’s why created as an extension of Open Space is Time: Changes, a new platform for musicians and the creative community.
Not everything is going to work, but it’s better than doing nothing other than being yet another nowhere person and armchair critic on Facebook.
Through Open Space and the story about Madison, we’ve now got to know new and exciting music talent.
From here, we have invited some to be part of Time: Changes showcases.
These have now interested partners with whom we wish to work.
It’s very quickly ignited a chain reaction of call and response with us and where we’re not expecting anyone doing anything for free.
The winners of the “Imagination” songwriting competition won a tidy US$10,000, and everyone who’s part of the Time Changes showcases are paid.
Art should never be devalued. Talent is a priceless commodity.
Other than hearing much more than a winning song, everything that’s coming together is about being a showcase for all their talent.
This helps us and others to get to know more about them.
It’s seeing where things might lead. It’s a journey.
Especially during these lockdown days and nights, it’s making the time to see what’s out there and perhaps looking at doing things differently.
As I keep mentioning, there are no fairy godmothers. They’re out of answers and out of gigs.
Very few are going to keep offering anyone handouts. I have and was burnt and that’s ok. It helps cut out the fat and focus on the positive aspects of life- especially the role Music plays in all extensions of life.
We need so much more new music. The artists who approach this with positivity is a blessing.
The story of Madison and inspiration will soon begin its next chapter.
Stay tuned...and stay inspired.