Several years ago, back in the days when I was a part of the New Voices Collective (Let’s all sigh with sadness that those concerts no longer exist. SIIIIGGGGHHH.), my friend and artistic director Joel Fram gave me a call and told me that our mutual friend Sam Davis was looking for a lyricist for a few songs. There was a quick deadline but I had time, so I said, sure, why not? Usually I get asked to be the composer for other lyricists but I thought this sounded like a fun challenge.
Sam is a beautiful composer and as much as anything, he is a great melodist. So for the first step, he handed me lead sheets of his lush melodies with the chord symbols above them. The songs were titled things like “New Ballad” or “Duet” or “Political Song” and it was up to me to figure out what they should be about. We wrote several songs this way before life and its extenuating circumstances got in our way.
The two most popular of these songs are on my album, “This Ordinary Thursday.” Sam wrote music and I wrote lyrics for the song AIR (sung by Will Chase) and PERFECT SUMMER (sung by Kelli O’Hara). But there were several others we wrote and just didn’t record. The sheet music for two of those songs has just been made available at my favorite digital sheet music store, Musicnotes. (Click HERE to view my sheet music catalog there.)
The first of the two is a song called “Invested In You.” (Sheet music HERE.) It’s a duet, and I was playing around with the lyric, trying to write a love song using a whole lot of financial jargon. (Sondheim has a song called “Love’s a Bond” from the show SATURDAY NIGHT which was probably my inspiration.) At my last Birdland concert in NY, I had Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat sing it together. They’re actually married, so it was extra-cute. (And I was pregnant, so I was not.)
The second song is a tune called “If I Could.” And it’s your pretty old-school musical theater ballad (for a tenor) that is both romantic and tinged with melancholy. An actable love song – that was the goal. I don’t have video footage of it, but you can listen to Dan Reichard sing the song (its premiere, at the New Voices Collective, SIIIGGGGHHHHH) HERE. My friend Kevin Odekirk has just recorded the song with a full orchestra (!), so as soon as that’s released I’ll let you all know.
Sam is on the road these days as the conductor of DREAMGIRLS. So if you happen to go see the show, head down to the orchestra pit, say hello, and tell him you heard his songs!