Week 41 – Mystery Girl

It all started with a bass line.

Jaye had a really cool bass riff he wrote some time ago which he had never put words to. This week, when we were jamming and thinking of a song idea, he played the riff for me. I thought it’d be fun to make it into a song –  and that’s how this collaboration called “Mystery Girl” came about.

You know, sometimes we guys have a “fantasy” girl that exists only in our heads. We hold an image of the perfect woman in our minds, and sometimes we dream about her. This song is about that “mystery girl” – but it goes one step further – she becomes real in the end! Yes, the lyrics are a bit abstract (deliberately so) – but you get the gist!

We had a lot of fun recording this video in Jaye’s new home studio. To capture a good sound, we positioned a condenser mic in the middle for the vocals, and two instrument mics at our guitars. The arrangement worked pretty well in getting a mix of sounds which we thought gave the recording a lot of depth.

For the video, we used Windows Movie Maker – and to my surprise, that basic software can create some really cool effects!

I like the way our individual styles are blending together – Jaye’s rhythmic progressions and my generally more flowing music.

All in, we were very pleased with the result. Let us know if you like it 🙂

Mystery Girl

There is this girl
She lives in a corner of my mind
Sometimes she visits me
In my melodies and rhymes

She’s been made by angels
With a touch of red hot chilli pepper and I let her do whatever
She wants to me (X3)

CHORUS
Has anybody met this mystery girl (X3)
Can anybody make her real for me cuz I need her in this world

Dreams are dreams
And life ain’t never as it seems
Everywhere I turn
She’s just out of reach

Wish I had a clue
Someone tell me what to do cos she’s flying up
Into the blue (X3)

CHORUS
Has anybody met this mystery girl (X3)
Can anybody make her real for me cuz I need her in this world

So I call out her name
Hoping she won’t walk away
I reach out my hand
Thinking I’m asleep again
Then I feel her skin
The moment I’ve been dreaming of each night
She’s walked out of my dreams and into my life

CHORUS
Has anybody met this mystery girl (X3)
Can anybody make her real for me cuz I need her in this world

Week 35 – Made With Love

A song can be inspired by pretty much anything. A book, a poem, a life-changing experience, all of them can trigger emotions that can be expressed in music. 

If you’re lucky like Paul McCartney was, a song could even come to you in a dream. That was how the melody for “Yesterday” came about, by the way.

Sometimes, an idea is born just by observing someone. And that’s the story behind this week’s song.

I was at a Starbucks one evening (it’s where I usually go to write), and beside me there was a girl who was busy making something. On the chair next to her was a bag full of coloured and patterned paper. On her table were about a dozen polaroid pictures of her and her boyfriend (I’m assuming).

Opened in front of her was a scrapbook with thick black pages, and on the corner of one page she had stuck little pink hearts.

Then, she cut out a pattern from the decorative paper, and attempted to create a border for one of the pictures, which she planned on pasting next to the hearts.

It looked like she had been at it for some time, and she was putting in a great deal of thought and effort into that scrapbook.

I thought to myself: “Wow, she really must love that guy a lot.”

As I packed up to leave, I caught sight of the words “Made With Love” printed on a paper bag. Apparently that’s the name of a scrapbooking store, probably where she bought all her materials.

Well, that’s how this song was born. I added a few touches, of course. A grandmother’s hand-made scarf, and a husband’s foray into the kitchen to surprise his wife… It’s the effort that counts, right?

I decided to just do an audio recording this week. The guitar and vocals were mixed with Cubase LE4, and the video was done in iMovie. Made with love… Enjoy!

Made With Love
©Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 31 Dec 2010

She’s 79 and her sight is failing
Her fingers bent, wrinkled and shaking
Still by lamplight she knits
All through the night
Weaving warm and coloured presents
For her grandchild, her joy and pride

A young girl sits at a corner cafe
She’s been there an entire Saturday
Precious pictures of her and her man
One by one, stuck in a book
Filled with pink hearts cut out by hand

CHORUS
It’s for you, she said, I know it’s not much
And I hope it’s enough ’cause
It’s made with love, made with love
With all my love

He’s home early, his arms filled with bags
A cookbook he got right off the rack
He fumbles like a child learning to walk
Fixing a three-course meal for two
Before his wife gets back at six o’clock

CHORUS
It’s for you, he said, I know it’s not much
And I hope it’s enough ’cause
It’s made with love, made with love
With all my love

It’s something I’d do for you
Only for you
With all my love
With all my love

And I hope it’s enough ’cause
It’s made with love, made with love
With all my love

Week 34 – The Man I Want To Be

While thinking of ideas for this week’s song, I stumbled upon a quote online. It goes something like this: “The man you want is the man I want to be, but without you, I can’t be that man. Without you, that man’s gone forever.” It’s author is unknown.

I think it says a lot when a man feels that way about the woman he loves. It means that for her, he will become a better man; that because of her, he is inspired to be the man that she wants.

It’s really quite a beautiful and powerful quote, and this song was born from it.

I’ll keep this post short, because it’s Boxing Day and I’m sure everyone has had a brilliant Christmas weekend. I’ll let the song speak for itself this time.

I feel so blessed for this long and happy Christmas, full of food, family and lots of love…

I’d like to wish everyone out there a cup filled with joy and laughter. And if you’ve been following this blog, and my songwriting journey, thank you so much for the support. God Bless you all 🙂

The Man I Want To Be
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 26 Dec 2010

You deserve someone better than me
I’ve made you cry more times than I can count
You’ve seen in me the good that I can’t see
I know that I was lost but now I’m found

For you, I’ll change my ways
In my life you take first place

CHORUS
You see the man you want is the man I want to be
You see the man you want is the man I want to be

Sometimes darkness makes the world so clear
How I cried when I almost lost your love
You stayed by my side despite the fear
Like a ray of light sent from above

For you, I’ll change my ways
In my life you take first place

CHORUS
You see the man you want is the man I want to be
You see the man you want is the man I want to be

Without you, I am gone forever
Only you… make me want to be better
Your breath has shook my very roots
I willingly surrender

CHORUS
You see the man you want is the man I want to be
You see the man you want is the man I want to be

Week 32 – Save Me A Kiss On Christmas

I’ve been meaning to write a Christmas song at some point, so I guess this week’s it. It’s two weeks before Christmas after all, so why not? 🙂

Spending time with family is I think one of the most important things to do every Christmas season, other than of course celebrating the birth of Jesus. That’s why songwriters have written much about coming home for the festive season.

Songs like “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, ” Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and “Driving Home For Christmas” are some of the more popular examples I can think of.

This week’s song is all about coming home. It’s written from the perspective of someone who has gone away from the woman he loves to seek his fortune. She has given him her love and support, and is patiently waiting for him to return.

Now, after he’s done what he had to do, he’s trying to get home for Christmas, but he isn’t sure he’ll make it time. Flights are full, traffic is a killer, and everyone just seems to be getting in the way…

Still, he’s hoping for that special Christmas miracle to happen and he’s asking his love to save him a kiss when he returns.

Lyrics below:

Save Me A Kiss On Christmas
©Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 11 Dec, 2010

The nights are a getting colder, this time of the year
I’ve been away too long, sung my song, climbed my mountain
Your voice was all I could hear

You told me to follow my heart, down the uncharted path
Since I’ve been gone, you’ve waited for me, so patiently
How I’ve prayed to see you again

There’s a star rising above your door
I’m a long way off, but I’ll get there for sure

CHORUS
The streets are filled with people
With nowhere to go
The city lights
Part of a show
Time moves too slow
My heart’s already flown
Save me a kiss on Christmas
I’m coming home soon

I’ve missed my flight and the traffic’s not a pretty sight
Will I get out of here, I’m lost in space, want your embrace
Your smile like starlight dancing in your eyes

A voice inside of me, telling me to believe
To hope against hope
I see a star rising above your door
I’m a long way off, but I’ll get there for sure

Week 31 – Bad Stuff Got You Good

This song initially started with the title “Don’t Let The Bad Stuff Get You Good”, and I built the verses from the phrase.

I wanted to play on the words “bad” and “good”. “Get you good” can mean someone’s going to beat you up, as in: “You’d better watch out, I’m gonna get you good!”; Or it can also mean someone wants you real bad, as in Shania Twain’s song “I’m Gonna Getcha Good.” What I wanted to do was to encourage people not let the bad things in life get them down, and say it in a slightly unconventional way.

I finished up what was to be the first draft of the song, and played it for Carol. (She’s always the first one to hear a song I’ve written ;))

She didn’t really like it. There were too many “ohhhs” in the middle, and the verses were repetitive, she said. And she also suggested I change the title to make it “less obvious”. I agreed with her. Plus, the initial version was about 5 minutes long and could do with some tightening.

The next day, I spent the entire afternoon doing major rewrites. I made the verses less repetitive and cut down the breaks between each line to make the verses flow better. I also changed the title to “Bad Stuff Got You Good”. I felt it was more punchy, less obvious, and still got the message across.

Here’s the final result:

Bad Stuff Got You Good
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 2 Dec 2010

Rain clouds comin’ in too fast
A shroud of sadness that never rests
Find a shelter on your windswept way
Winter’s troubles fade in May

Put love and hope on your speed dial
They’re trying to get to you, my child
Like birds of spring singing at your door
Let them in, don’t cry no more

CHORUS
Oh… when the bad stuff got you good
Never worry
More than you should

God won’t give you what you can’t take
Won’t break the promises he’s made
When all else fails you’ve got me, don’t forget
I’ll do my best to pick up the slack

CHORUS
Oh… when the bad stuff got you good
Never worry
More than you should

BRIDGE
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Like you haven’t got enough
To care about

So smile for me and steal my breath away
You’re amazing and I want you to stay
We can face each day as it comes
What good is life without the sun

CHORUS
Oh… when the bad stuff got you good
Never worry
More than you should

Week 28 – On Heaven’s Wings

This week, I was introduced to just about the most beautiful passage on love I have ever read. It’s from The Prophet, a book by Lebanese-American poet and writer Khalil Gibran.

In the chapter on love, which you can read here, I encountered one of the most profound (and true) descriptions of this basic human emotion. Take some time to read it if you can.

As I read and re-read the passage to get its full meaning, one line stood out for me: “When love beckons to you follow him,/Though his ways are hard and steep.”

That line really brought home the meaning of love for me: that in order to truly experience love, you have to feel both its pleasure and its pain. Only then are you in the heart of love itself.

This was the line from which I began to write this song. I called it “On Heaven’s Wings” because I felt the title fit the message I wanted to achieve with it: An invitation to the one I love to experience true love with me.

There’s a reason for everything, and I think I discovered this passage because I wanted to write a love song to Carol this week. Something which had meaning…

I played this song to a fellow songwriter who was at the Maestro outlet at Scape Mall this morning, and he asked: “How many times have you made your wife fall in love with you?”

I shrugged and smiled. I think you’ll have to ask Carol for that answer.

On Heaven’s Wings
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 12 Nov, 2010

Love, you beckoned, and there you stood
One girl in a million
You had me good, you had me good

Love, you beckoned, and I answered
Your voice smooth as a kitten’s purr
My thoughts a blur, my thoughts a blur

Chorus
Walk with me
And I will sing
Lie with me
On Heaven’s wings

I know, I fear that love can hurt
But love, it can also heal
Pleasure and pain, again and again

So I yielded my heart to you
‘Cos we don’t want to laugh alone
Nor cry under a stone, under a stone

Chorus
Walk with me
And I will sing
Lie with me
On Heaven’s wings

We shall run like the deer
Run free, two melodies
That fall and rise perfectly
I love you for you
And so I give freely
Myself, my heart, my life

Chorus
Walk with me
And I will sing
Lie with me
On Heaven’s wings

Week 24 – Every Little Detail

It’s such a blessing to have someone who knows you inside out, who can read you like a book, and who can tell what you’re thinking about just by looking at you…

In the same way, it’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to know another person that well.

This song is for my wife, Carol.

It’s true, you know. There’s no one else in this world who knows her better than I do.

I asked her if she thought it was a sexy song… and she said yes 😉 (She’s blushing as I’m writing this post!)

Every Little Detail
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 15 Oct, 2010

I know exactly where to touch you to turn you on
Kisses like pins on a map, places only I have gone
Emotions flow like water as I breathe in the scent of your skin
I take pleasure in

Every little detail
Is sweet music to my eyes
Every little detail
As you lie by my side

The way your hair falls on your pillow after your bedtime routine
The goosebumps on your arms in the cold, cold wind
The way you bite your lips, the shape of the covers on your hips
I take pleasure in

Every little detail
Is sweet music to my eyes
Every little detail
As you lie by my side

I see colours only the painter sees
I hear rhymes only the poet needs
I read your face like a familiar place
I know

Every little detail
Is sweet music to my eyes
Every little detail
As you lie by my side

Week 18 – With Both My Hands

There’s a Nigerian proverb that goes: “Hold a true friend with both your hands”. I think it’s a lovely saying, and when I came across it while looking for ideas for my song this week, I knew I just had to write something based on it.

A pair of hands is a very powerful image, don’t you think? They invoke love, support, comfort, friendship, and all sorts of positive things. When you pray over someone, you stretch out both your hands over them.

Carol mentioned this song is a departure from my usual style, and I agree. It’s spiritual, and I make several Christian references in the lyrics. Something I don’t usually do, if you’ve been following my songwriting so far.

I think it’s because Corrinne May’s recent performance rubbed off on me a little. Her spirituality and faith inspired me to write this song, really.

Lyrics below. Comments are welcome!

With Both My Hands
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 3 Sept, 2010

Don’t go anywhere, I’m coming over now
I heard all about it, and I know you’re feeling down
I will be with you in your hour of need
When everything around you has crumbled to your feet

Chorus
With both my hands
I will bless you
For you I will lift them up in prayer
I will hold you
With both my hands
Wash your feet and comb your hair

Sit back for a while, let me do all your  dishes
Put on a comedy, relax in your favourite chair
Start looking forward to building new bridges
Put your worries in heaven’s care

Chorus
With both my hands
I will bless you
For you I will lift them up in prayer
I will hold you
With both my hands
Wash your feet and comb your hair

Bridge
It’s the least I can do
The least I can do
To protect and defend you
With both my hands, with both my hands

Chorus
With both my hands
I will bless you
For you I will lift them up in prayer
I will hold you
With both my hands
Wash your feet and comb your hair

Week 14 – Making Memories

Today, I celebrate my first wedding anniversary with my wife Carol. It’s been a wonderful year, and we’ve been blessed with so much. There’s nothing more I could ask for, really. Carol, I love you, and I thank God you’re in my life. This song is for you, and I hope we’ll make a million more memories in the years to come.

Making Memories
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 6 Aug, 2010

If there’s something I cling to, it’s times with me and you
Moments tucked away under the trappings of everyday
You know how precious they are to me, the diamonds that brighten my way

They are all I need
You are the face I see

Chorus
We’re building, building a home
And we’re making memories, memories
To have, to have and to hold
I want more of these
Memories, memories

My heart takes a picture of us, every date and every kiss
Making plans, the glances I take at you, there’s nothing I want to miss
They don’t gather dust, the world falls away as we reminisce

Wash away the sands of pain
You’ll see the gold remains

Chorus

Bridge
A year has gone by so fast
And today I say to you, my love
Remember us and smile
I know we’ll last, more than a lifetime

Chorus
We’re building, building a home
And we’re making memories, memories
To have, to have and to hold
Here’s to more of these
Memories, memories

***

It was a really busy Saturday for me, which is why I’m posting this at 4am!

Had a great time at the Maestro Acoustic Lounge @ *Scape Mall in the afternoon. It was quite an experience playing a full 45 minute set of original music in a shopping mall, but it sure felt good having people stop by and listen, even if it was for a little while. I really enjoyed myself, and I’m looking forward to performing a lot more in time to come. Thanks to everyone who came by, I really appreciate the support! Here’s a picture of me with my friend Adrian on the cajon.

Singer-songwriter Marcel Lee Pereira performing at the Maestro Acoustic Lounge @ *Scape Mall. Accompanying him on the cajon is drummer Adrian Loo.

My sis, Gemma, managed to get tickets to the rehearsal for the Youth Olympics opening ceremony (the actual thing is on Aug 14), so straight after the show, we headed to the Marina Bay floating platform. Here’s the view from the grandstand, just before the show started:

I must say, though, while the ceremony was snazzy with its choreographed performances, fireworks, giant walking characters and even water displays, I felt there were just too many bells and whistles – and not enough heart. It just didn’t speak to me, and I couldn’t see the connection of some of the performances to the Youth Olympics. Well, maybe the ending was better – but we left early.

Ok, I’m off to bed now. Long day ahead! Champagne brunch with Carol and then we’re checking in at the Pan Pacific for the long weekend… 😉 Cheers! Oh, and Happy National Day.

Week 3 – Coffee Love

I seem to be writing happy songs these few weeks 🙂 Maybe it’s because I’m finally doing what I love?

Anyway, this week’s song is another laid back track. It is an ode to coffee – dedicated to all coffee lovers out there. I had fun with the lyrics this time.

Coffee Love
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 20 May, 2010

Go easy on the whipped cream honey I’ve got too much in my veins
The doctor said my pressure’s hit the roof, and I’m to blame
Toffee nut latte that’s my favourite but I can’t have any now
I’ve sought my 25th opinion and I say how now brown cow

But I love, love, love how good your lips taste after a lemon zest
And I could eat a tub of honey dripping down your
Oh, and the smell of your fresh cookies makes my tongue do a jig
They tell me stop before its too late, but I can’t help taking a swig

My coffee love, you’re my coffee love
Coffee, toffee, coffee love
My turtledove

You warm my cup, Heat me up
Frothy love

Storm my senses with your hot and spicy
You’ve got me nicely lost in paradise

Go easy on the whipped cream honey, I’ve got too much in my head
The shrink said I’ve got nothing to do but jump into bed
Oh but the sheets are cold and empty and I’m feeling a little sick
I need a little stimulation cos that’s what makes me tick

***

On a separate note, I’ll be performing a couple of songs at the “Originals Only Open Mike (OOOM)” tonight at the Singapore Art Museum in Bras Basah. It starts at 7pm.

As it’s a first-come-first-served event, I’m not exactly sure what time I’ll be playing, but if you’re in town do come and check it out! You’ll get to see a whole bunch of talented singer-songwriters take the stage.