Monday, August 13, 2007

THE SONGWRITER (Another tale from the Life and times of Mark Bey)

All my life I have had a great love of music . That love transcends everything from Jay Z, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane and Patsy Cline to many other diverse artist and forms of music. I have also had a great love for writing poetry, I remember in Junior high school my teacher given the class an assignment to write a poem and it was on that day that I discovered I had a knack for making words rhyme in crafty way, plus I really enjoyed it.

Anyway back around 1995 I was walking home from a girlfriends house one day when I spotted a friend of mine from college ( I didnt finish but he did) we were both happy to see each other and we ended up talking for about an hour in the warm summer evening. Eventually my friend ( also Mark) invited me in to a dinner of fried chicken he cooked and a game of chess which we both loved. The chicken was bad but the chess was fun. In fact over the next few months I made it a habbit of stopping by unannounced not because me and Mark were great friends but because we both loved chess and the games between us were something we enjoyed very much. I guesse at this time you could say I had a serious jones over chess and quite often I found myself at DuPont circle to in Washington DC playing chess out doors, winter, spring, summer and fall I mean thats how much chess excited me at that time.

One day after a game of chess my buddy played a song he had composed on an old out of tume piano in his house. He had no idea that I wrote poetry and songs so after he played that song for me I asked him if I could write some lyrics to the song and said yes. WE began working together as a partnership that day, that partnership would eventually include another very talented brotha named John who sang, played keyboard and produced music.

We ended up joining forces and forming a company called OVER THE WALL PRODUCTIONS or OTW for short, then we built a studio inside of Mark"s apartment were we could write and create music to our hearts content. With the blessing of modern technology we were able to produce radio quality music in our own studio without having to break our pockets. I was enthralled with the ability of my friends to take ideas, that we hummed or sang and replicate them on the keyboard. Notes, melody and harmony became something very enjoyable and spiritual to me along with writing lyrics to go along with those notes.

Soon after I got myself a keyboard and began my journey of trying to learn how to play/make music. Meanwhile OTW continued to record with local artist, attend local music conferences and develop our business plan and build up our catolog. During this process we also met with lots of producers, singers and other folks who were trying to break through in the industry, most of them were the same sized fish as us, some a little bigger some a little smaller.

The majority of people at our level were not able to earn enough money to work full time at music in fact most of us lost money and when that happens music is no more than a sophisticated hoby. One thing I can tell you folks is this, getting airplay and radio time has very little to do with who writes the best songs or who is the best singer and more to do with producing a commericial product that can sale in the markektplace. Anohter thing I can tell you from this expeirence is the songs and artist you here on the radio getting airplay arent neccessarily the best, in fact I have heard many songs (hip hop and R and B) created by independent producers that were far supperior to anything youll ever hear on the raidio.

Now dont get me wrong Im not saying that the folks out their making money in the industry arent talented because they are. But what I am saying is that the music industry like any other industry is a business and business number rule of of the game is return on investment.

Anyway having said all of that, isnt it funny how my love of chess allowed a friendship to develop, which allowed me the opurtunity to work and vibe with a lot of talented musicians. Being around those talented musicians inspired me to buy a keyboard, which lead to hours upon hours of intense practicing and study which lead to me finally being able to transpose ideas from my head into reality. I know for a fact that if we had not both loved chess I would not have been stopping and would have never began working with Mark, which also means I would never have been exposed to the keyboard. At this point in my life I cant imagine not having a keyboard around at all times.

Below is a sample of one of the songs I have written. This song is not complete I only was able to get a lead vocal down and backround vocals would have made it sound better, but nevertheless this piece called "Taking All My Cash" represents" my efforts as a musician and a songwriter on my own. This piece was written and dirived totally from my efforts, although I realize this is not of proffesional quality I do think some will enjoy it.