During the NAMM show of January 2015, Hope Leigh wandered into our booth. She was at the show looking for a new ukulele. After trying our all solid electric series, she’d found the sound she was looking for! It’s been awesome to work with Hope and be the sound behind her amazing songs. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Don’t forget, you can connect to Hope on her Artist Bio at www.tetonguitars.com. Hope wrote a guest blog post for your enjoyment. I’ve included that below.
Until next time,
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Guest Blog Post
HOPE LEIGH: WRITING A SONG AND BRINGING IT TO LIFE.
In the Spring of 2013, I was at home in Los Angeles, and I started to write a new song on my ukulele. If we’re being honest, songs for me come from one of 2 places – Someone makes my heart or someone breaks my heart., and I want the world to know. You can quickly tell by the brightness of this song – I was falling in love. ( Fast forward to track 4 of that record, it’s clear the love didn’t last, but for the time it took to write it, gosh was I happy)
Usually songs for me, are built around a catchy hook – or a fun series of chord progressions- but I wanted to build a song where the shape of the sound matched the meaning. I didn’t just want the lyrics to be about finding a new love, I didn’t just want the chords to evoke happiness, I wanted the shape of the song to mimic falling in love. I decided to write a song that had an overall crescendo, that grew in volume and complexity, and that charged forward in free-thought with no repetitive chorus to fall back on. To me – that racing forward feeling was reminiscent of love, to me a song like that would feel like falling in love.
This is where “Meant To Be” began.
I brought it to my then bandmate Scott Cassidy. ( of Me & Mr. Cassidy) He didn’t quite vibe with simple listing of wants and dreams, he wanted more metaphor – more word play. But for me, I wanted a song straight from my immediate thought. This was me in love, telling my love all of the things I wanted for us.
We tried out “Meant To Be” live and director Boman Modine heard it and asked to use it for a soundtrack. A live take of us performing it ended up being placed in an incredible short film about a young girl facing Cystic Fibrosis while falling in teenage love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aOIP3fI5FA
But in the end, it was clear the song wasn’t meant for my band’s sound. I guess not everything is ” Meant To Be” ( too corny?… alright I’ll move on!)
In 2015, I wrapped my solo record up with Will Noon (Fun.) & Nate Harold ( Fun.) and wanted to bring “Meant To Be” onto a studio album. I tried out a handful of male vocalists on the track to find the right feeling. When my friend Ryan Amador took a crack at it, it felt so real. I Couldn’t be happier with the result. ( Violinist, Luisa Lee) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q3QpsV9Zu0
From there, I wanted a visual to bring to life the sound and lyrics. I wanted it to be genuine. I had such an attachment to how fully authentic this song was for me – so instead of casting actors as I have in the past for a music video, I wanted footage of a real life couple to go out for the day and film themselves on a date. I picked a couple who to me- were the epitome of young careless love. Whose love for one another was an exact manifestation of these lyrics. We then followed up by taking my Teton solid body ukulele to the roof of my Echo Park home and brought it all together.
The song musically itself is simple. Three chords, repeated in the same order the entire song. But it is the growth of plucking to strumming to the introduction of strings and finally group vocals that brings it to life. I have never been more proud of a song in my life, as for me, in every way I could control I was intentional with how the song, lyrics, music, and video came to life.
With a song that has such a curated range of tone, now, when I play Meant to Be live, I can’t imagine accompanying myself on anything other than my ukulele. My having my own volume and tone controls at hand, I can swiftly round out my sound on the more hollow finger picking, and pull the volume back when I open up into a full strum. My song stays balanced and as intended the entire way through.
After a full year of touring, TV Appearances, and the Ep release, I am spending my fall traveling and writing. I want to make sure that every song I create moving forward is shaped with the same range of tone and intention as Meant to Be was.