I’ll admit, although I’d had ideas about writing pandemic related song since we were plunged into lockdown back in March last year, everything that I’d managed to come up with didn’t seem to quite hit the right note. I’d also thought myself – why would anyone want to immortalise this dreadful time that we find ourselves in in a song? It just didn’t feel right. And whenever that happens as a songwriter, I tend to just park the idea and label it a nogoer.
However, when one of my past brides Beth (who is a midwife at North Tees Hospital) contacted me to record a song for a video she was putting together to say thank you to all of the staff in the maternity unit for their hard work during the pandemic, and thank you to the new 2020 parents for their understanding under all of the COVID restrictions, my feelings changed. I found my head swimming with lyrics almost immediately – the song for this video was writing itself in my head, it felt natural, and I knew that I didn’t want to just record a song to go with the video – I wanted to write one.
With that, I really wanted to capture the positives of the pandemic – the opportunity it has presented many of us with to slow down and reconsider our lives, the way it has made us all stop taking for granted simple things such as seeing our family and friends, and of course, all of the new life that has been able to come into the world amidst all of the chaos.
As with any of my songs that I’ve written that have been the most successful, Look for the Rainbows was written in a relatively short period of time. By the end of one December afternoon sat at the piano, the song was completed, and I had sent it off to Beth to be put to the video, which was slideshow of photos of staff from the maternity unit during the pandemic and the new babies which had come into the world on the unit in 2020. Although I hadn’t seen the video before I wrote the song, the song and video complimented each other perfectly. The video began to do really well on social media, accruing over 20 thousand views across my social media channels in a short space of time, with many people commenting on how much the song and video spoke to them. This massively motivated my decision to record and release the song as a proper single (as the original version had been knocked up in my home studio… aka my bedroom) with an official music video to boot.
I recorded the song at what I consider to be my ‘hometown studio’ – Mirage Studios in Marske- by the-sea. I’ve been recording music at Mirage since I was 15, with my good friend John who owns it, and every studio day there feels like a day at an extended musical home.
Eventually I also enlisted the help of some talented strings players, Harriet Bradshaw (Cello) and Harry Fausing Smith (Viola, Violin) to add an orchestral feel to the track – something which was ultimately going to bring the song to a whole new level.
New life is undoubtedly one of the biggest positives of this pandemic – I think it serves as a symbol of hope to all of us that even though the world feels as though it has stopped, there are still ways in which life is very much happening. I wanted the music video to capture that, and so I called on new parents of 2020 and 2021 and their babies to star in the video. I was incredibly lucky to enlist the help of primarily willing friends and family, but it was also lovely to have some people I didn’t know getting involved too. My good friend Jodie Canwell (love is lovely) shot the video, and as someone who is on my wavelength totally, completely captured the vibe that I was going for. We spent a weekend shooting families with new babies and key workers (safe and socially distanced) and eventually came up with something really special (I hope you will agree!).
As the song was originally inspired by North Tees Maternity unit, I worked with them to decide which charity the funds raised from the song would go to. Together we decided on 4Louis – a charity which supports families affected by miscarriage, still birth and child loss. As the streaming royalties for small artists like me are minimal (Spotify – I’m looking at you with your 0.0034p per play) donating via the following just giving page is the best way to raise money for this special cause. So, if you enjoyed the Look for the Rainbows song and video, please take some time to give what you can at www.justgiving.com/lookfortherainbows .
‘Even though it feels as though the clouds are here to stay, the sunshine’s never far away’
Keep your chins up everyone – we’re almost to the other side.