I wasn't actually supposed to be playing my ukulele.
I was supposed to be studying... for a midterm.
The link I found in my inbox, to a songwriting contest organized by a charity called MAKE MUSIC MATTER, from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, was more of a welcome distraction than a strategic shot at networking in the music industry.
The application process said the song was supposed to inspire others, and it was supposed to address an issue that our world was facing today. The ubiquity of rape headlines and the delicacy of the subject helped me chose my theme - and the song was written that afternoon.
It took no more than three hours.
The lyrics came. I recorded a scratchy, acoustic version of the song on my ipad and I had the video uploaded to the contest website before dinner.
I will forever attribute the ideas and inspiration behind the song to the journalism class I was taking at the time, and to the several older brother figures I was lucky enough to have in my life.
~ ~ T H E S O N G ~ ~
The song itself is ridiculously simple.
The lyrics are basic and there are four chords in the entrie piece. Written from the persective of a young girl - it aims to celebrate the ordinary, everyday heroism of her older brother.
I figured, if more men of character were celebrated in our arts, and in our culture, boys would possibly have more reason to be strong, genenerous, and good.
Having role models is something I don't think any of us can take for granted. And I hoped "From Your Little Sister" would make listeners stop and think of their younger sisters (if they had any) and consider how they wished she would be treated at parties... at school... and in every aspect of life.
Although I don't have any older brothers myself, I do have five younger siblings, and several older friends who have been utterly transformative and instrumental in my life.
For me, these older brother figures were (and continue to be) people I trust and love dearly. They are examples of strength, discipline, and tenderness... and each of them have an irreplacable part in my heart.
~ ~ R E C O R D I N G I N T O R O N T O ~ ~
It was this song that connected me with the two men that would later become the producers of my EP - 'Feeling Lost, Feeling Seen.'
Cone McCaslin - the bassist for Sum 41, has two sisters. I did not know this when I wrote the song, but I discovered it later after we met. It was one of the reasons that this song resonated with him when he heard it.
Darcy Ataman is the CEO of Make Music, a charity that works in countries that have been deeply scarred by conflict, HIV/AIDS, and violence against women.
It was a bizzare coincidence; a random crossing-of-paths that lead to the largest collaboration project of my life (so far). We were an unlikely team, but we had been brought together by the single unifying desire to communicate, create, and inspire through music.
~ ~ T H E M U S I C V I D E O ~ ~
Two huge "THANK YOU"s must be said, although; many more are needed.
Linda Dong (@leendadproductions) helped me direct the music video, despite the fact that I gave her two weeks notice. We filmed for four hours on two consecutive days, and had a budget of $0. Her advice, support, and creative vision brought fluidity and beauty to my beginner's attempt at storyboarding, and later made my job of editing and colour correcting a whole heck of a lot easier.
Matthew- my younger brother, didn't realize what he was getting himself into when he agreed to help me with my music video. I was in desperate need of an actor, and he had just arrived back from boarding school the day before we began filming. I think he expected a role somewhere in the background, but no one could have played the part better.
The entire video looks better, just because he's in it.
Other people that helped in the making of this video include: my other siblings - Alex, Andrea, James, and Joseph ; Max and Michael Yun, Matthew Remedios, and Edro Ryan Gonzales ; Mavic Ellorin, Vivian Thuy, and Dominic Giasson-Garcia ; Lucas Estabrook, Alvin Brendan, Richard Liu, and Chris Yan.