Since the release of my new album, Feel So Pretty, in July this year, I've been asked a few times why I chose to record Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.
I love this question because it was actually a big decision for me to make. My producer, Steve McDonald, lovingly insisted that I put a cover song on this album and asked me what I'd like to do. Due to my procrastination, Steve put together a compilation CD of about 30 songs for me to choose from. There was only one song on there that I was mildly interested in recording, so we went ahead and began creating a whole new version of it. Steve was very excited about the song, but as it turns out, I was having so much trouble singing it (it was too high in places for me and if we moved it down a key, it was too low in places as well) and the style also was just not feeling comfortable for me.
I kinda had to gently suggest to Steve that perhaps the whole cover thing wasn't going to work for me. Poor Steve! lol! However, being a very patient soul, he then said to me "there must be SOMETHING, surely just ONE song that you enjoy singing that you could put on your album, SURELY"? I said "well of course there is. There's one song that I sing on my shows that I adore and people tell me that I must record it but I CAN'T POSSIBLY. It's way too big, too current, it's been covered a million times and therefore it feels like too much pressure for me to attempt it". (This was my reasoning).
Steve said "well that's it. You're doing it" and that was that. At least I had him to blame if it all went belly up hehe.
The next step was to decide how to record it. At least I'd already been playing it on my shows for some time so I had my part down. Next we added an acoustic rhythm guitar part by the great Randy Ray Mitchell and then we enlisted the services of Bob Malone to work his magic with a string arrangement. Bob wasn't hard to track down since I was living in his house (Bob and his wife Karen are family to me). My most treasured memory of this process was lying awake in the room next to Bob's studio on the night that he wrote the string parts for Chasing Cars. I couldn't stop smiling. To hear someone creating so passionately and from the goodness of their heart, just because they love you and care about you and care about the music, well, it gave me chills. Not only that, the parts were so beautiful and moving, I didn't sleep all night. They were going around and around in my head and I just couldn't wait to give Bob a huge hug in the morning and tell him how much I appreciated him.
Strings down, piano and vocal down, all we needed now was a harmony vocal. Steve McDonald seems to have a list of incredibly talented musicians to call on in Los Angeles, and if the job of the producer is to make decisions about who to call for what and when, then I think Steve nailed it every time for this album. There's nothing more to say except, please just listen to the amazing vocals of John Pratt. Just. Wow!
I hope you've enjoyed my story today. Please leave a comment below and grab your free download of Chasing Cars before you go.