Yes, This Is Actually Me Singing | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

Yes, This Is Actually Me Singing

The last few months have definitely been a creatively explosive period for me, in ways I didn’t expect and I’m not accustomed to.

It started back in September when I was flying back from a friend’s wedding.  For whatever reason, ideas for a musical spontaneously popped into my mind.  Thankfully, I had a yellow pad with me, so I was able to furiously scribble down a lot of the music and lyrics that were suddenly echoing in my head.

When I got home, I immediately did some recordings, painstakingly entering the backing tracks into Finale NotePad (a music composition program) note by note, and giving the vocals what I can only describe as “the old college try.”  I don’t exactly have a professional-quality home recording studio, but I think the recordings at least captured the essence of my song ideas.

I haven’t completely hammered out the plot of the show, but I know it’s going to be a comedy about a software engineer tentatively named Steve, who secretly aspires to be a science fiction novelist.  After Steve loses his job and is criticized by the girl of his dreams for being unable to directly tell her how he feels about her, Steve goes on an epic journey of self-discovery and personal development.

I figure that, because I’ve done all this writing about the deeper and more challenging aspects of personal growth, it’s only fair for me to walk my talk by sharing some of these songs with you, and exposing a part of myself I don’t normally share on the blog.

I’ve done a few posts in the past (here and here) where I shared my compositions, but letting you hear me sing is definitely breaking new ground.  So, without further ado, here are some small (about 1 MB each) MP3 files containing three of the songs I’ve written:

1.  Only a Test:  Steve’s friend who is tentatively named “Ace” sings this song, in an effort to console Steve after he’s had a falling out with “Sabrina,” the female lead.  With all his talk about evolution and its effect on female behavior, Ace doesn’t really succeed.

2.  Find Out Who You Are:  Steve’s friend Tord, a big Scandinavian guy with long hair and a scary-looking heavy metal t-shirt (which is ironic given the Dean Martin-esque stylings of this tune), sings this song after Steve gets laid off from his job as a programmer, encouraging Steve to discover who he is and what he wants.

3.  There’s This Girl:  This song is Steve’s indirect way of letting Sabrina know how he feels about her — by claiming to be telling her one of his stories, when he’s really talking about their relationship.  Steve sings the first verse and Sabrina sings the second.

As far as my future plans for the show, my goal is to ultimately make it happen — whether in Broadway (or perhaps off-off-Broadway) form, or as an animated series of videos.  I’m going to record more professional-quality versions of these songs with real instruments soon.  If you have some graphic design and/or animation experience, and you’d be interested in collaborating on an animated version of the show, feel free to let me know!

22 thoughts on
Yes, This Is Actually Me Singing

  1. Evan

    Re Only a Test: genes or jeans? Deliberate ambiguity?
    I can hear lush strings as the backing for Find Out Who You Are
    Have you seen the movie of Talking Heads Stop Making Sense. I could see There’s This Girl with slides in the background as in that movie.

    I hope you manage to finish it and get it produced. It sounds like good fun.

  2. Chris - Post author

    Hi Evan, yes, you got the double entendre there. And you got my desire to have a Burt Bacharach-style arrangement for Find Out Who You Are! My friend commented that he heard the influence of My Way in that tune, but as far as Sinatra songs go I was thinking about Summer Wind.

    I never saw the Talking Heads movie — maybe that’s something else I could potentially send up in the musical (I’m going to do a lot of parodying of rock operas and concept albums like Tommy and The Wall). I’m glad I can weave my musical ideas into my blogging — maybe my sense that I couldn’t do that made blogging unattractive for a bit.

  3. Sara

    Chris — WOW this is so cool. I go away for a short time and look at what Mr. Creative does:~) You’ve now become both Mr. Creative and the Wise One!

    I love this idea and you sing wonderfully. I rocked out with the last song. This is a fantastic idea! Who knew I might be in blogging presence of a musical play.

    I also love the idea of doing this as a video opera/musical with animated characters. The sound you have makes me think of that. Animated films are so IN right now.

    Definitely, go for this. You made my day. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such talented people, like you. Thank goodness for blogging.

    p.s. when you win your “Tony” award, I going to get to say, “I knew him back when….”:~)

  4. Lance

    Chris!
    This is awesome!! And – way to go!! –> on putting your voice out here on your site in such a new way!

    And – I love that you’re taking this idea of yours and running with it!! (and I just love the idea behind the plot, too!)

    I’m there when this show makes its appearance!!

  5. Jannie Funster

    Yay, Chris!!!! I want to listen to these later, away from the library. Too noisy here.Yes, noisy in a library, social hour here now.

    I know I will enjoy listening to you singing soooo much!!

    Love the titles. Love the story. So glad you are inspired! And very talented.

    Steve sounds AMAZING!! I bet he’ll end up getting the girl, big-time!

    I’ll be back later.

    xoxo

    Oh, the synchronicity of your FinaleNotePad and mine — which I was working with not 30 minutes ago — is super-uncannily-cool!! I was actually taking a break from inputting the melody notes for “Do You Dream,” by answering comments on my latest post. And there in Sara’s comment was a link to here, whoooohoo.

    Awesome, Chris!! I totally enjoyed your guitar compositions, and feel so happy you are treating us with some of your singing. As I said… I’ll listen to them later… and be back here to comment again.

  6. Patricia

    Awesome Dude…and I love hearing your sing…I am taping my foot and moving the moves..

    Now, I am wondering why this did not come into my in box? I had to link over from Sara’s link on Jannie’s site…?

    You are one creative fellow….

    Jannie is sending me my recital tape that her sound guy just took off a cassette, cleaned up and transferred to a CD….40 years ago I could really sing…and loved being Oliver on stage with that musical….now a 4 note sue….the Peace Choir is letting me sing with their rehearsals in hopes that my voice will pop back in place with some practice…but now I am thinking it is gone forever… I love to sing..
    Wish I could be in your musical…neat! work…thank you for sharing …gave me lots and lots of energy

  7. Hilary

    Hi Chris .. what a great idea .. and I loved you exposed us to three snippets of the songs – having very little music (as such) in me – I really admire you .. and you are walking the talk, or singing the song for us to hear. What a wonderful project time ahead of you – great goal .. have fun with the process … sadly my talents don’t go in that direction! Cheers Hilary

  8. Davina Haisell

    This is fantastic, Chris!! I admire folk who can sing and I think you have a lovely quality to your voice. I did not know you could sing. It’s exciting to have a goal such as this. Go for it!

  9. Jannie Funster

    I hear Meatloaf, Don McClean and Glen Campbell in your voice, And I LOVE each of those 3. What a supertreat, Chris! Oh yes, and I’m hearing Dan Fogelberg too. Just AWESOME!!! Nice instrumentation too. Like the piano, and the rocking. But most of all your strong confident voice. Am intrigued my the story. And smiled at inside her “genes.” :) :)

    And that was just on the first song!

    Please forgive I have not read every word of each comment left on this post.

    I’m off now to listen to this a 3rd time. The first one, that is.

    This is fun!!!! :)

    xoxo

  10. Jannie Funster

    Ah, Chris, having now been treated to the second one I can smell the thrill of Broadway in the air after a rain. Pack my bags for NY, Ny and crank up the footlights, Baby! I wanna see you in that show.

    Super voice! And talent.

    xo

  11. Jannie Funster

    Ahhhh, I LOVE this, Chris!! I’ll enjoy hearing this a lot! Talking about the 3rd tune of course, “There’s This Girl.” So sweet. And who can’t relate to she shyness of having a crush on some attractive soul. But not only that all wrapped in a catchy tune with a heart-warming vocal.

    Thanks so much for sharing your awesome talent!

    I know it took me a while to get back over here, and I apologize for that. I knew it was gonna be good. But quite honestly, it was GOOD good, I mean really good.

    Um, can I maybe get a back-stage pass for one of your shows some time? That would be great, thanks!!

    xoxo

  12. Chris - Post author

    Hi Sara — yes, I’m finally back in the blogging biz and I want to note that I’ve really appreciated all the encouragement you’ve been sending — I feel like I am finally letting out creative energies that have been pent up for a long time and I’m glad that you’ve noticed that!

  13. Chris - Post author

    Hi Lance — belated thanks for your encouragement — I agree that, exactly as you said, this is the next shape for my “creative voice” to take, and I’m looking forward to sharing more!

  14. Chris - Post author

    Hi Jannie — thanks! I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed the compositions — just wait until you hear what I’ve recorded during my time in NYC! In my brother’s home studio, we did versions with real instruments and equipment that you have to pay money for rather than just the free software that I used! I plan to get people I know who sing professionally to work on it, and then ideally they will contribute to the “Original Cast Album.” Anyway, this has been an awesome experience so far and I’m looking forward to sharing more!

  15. Chris - Post author

    Hi Patricia — moving the moves! Does that mean you have choreography experience? I’m going to be looking for some help along those lines. I’m also glad to hear that you are giving singing a try again — I know my own voice had some issues for a while and then healed when I gave it a bit of a rest — maybe you’ll have the same kind of experience.

  16. Chris - Post author

    Hi Hilary — yes, I think what you said captures what I’m trying to do, which is to “walk my talk” or “sing my song” — for a long time I’ve been telling people about how I’m writing a musical and I didn’t want to just “talk a good game.” Glad to hear you enjoyed the pieces.

  17. Chris - Post author

    Hi Tom — yeah, it’s quite amazing that a year ago I don’t think I would have been able to “put myself out there” in this way, even though I’ve been into music and performing for such a long time. It’s showing me that the more I let go of my identification with certain things I do, like being a lawyer or coaching people or whatever, the more creative freedom I get.

  18. Chris - Post author

    Hi Davina — thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed my voice — I was really just singing as a “placeholder” for someone else who was more “Broadway-quality,” but hey, if my voice is pleasing to people to listen to, that’s a treat.

  19. Sara

    Chris,

    I stopped by to say Happy New Year and read your reply to my last comment. Thank you very much. You are a special person with so many talents. I love it when you share them with us:~)

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