So here it is at last.
10 years ago, I started work on this record, at a crossroads in my life.
I chose a roundabout path by way of London, New York and many cities in between, that took me to where I am today professionally. And I also chose, at the time, to remain with my then significant other (the same one with who I’ve split recently).
Professionally, of course, I am at my peak. On the personal front, however, I’ve somewhat failed.
And so this process of re-visiting the record was a process of self-rediscovery and -reflection; an attempt to understand who I was then and how much of this Kennie Past has remains in Kennie Present, and has the potential – or ought – to be retained in Kennie Future.
I’m not sure I have all the answers.
But then, Life is a journey of discovery, and often times the process is far more important than the outcome; the questions more important than the answers.
What I’m most pleased about is that I’ve managed to re-visit, re-conceptualise, edit and re-master pretty much ALL of the individual demo tracks I wrote, composed and arranged in 2009-10.
There were 13 tracks I completed then (and an additional Chinese number I wrote somewhat later that I’ve thrown into the mix). They have been edited and organised in a way that would be more relevant to today.
Interestingly, the same issues I grappled with 10 years ago, I’m still grappling with now. Which goes to show how some kinds of emotions are universal.
That comforts me somewhat.
* * *
There are two SIDES to the 2019 version of THE FACTS OF LIFE.
SIDE ONE is the somewhat more conventional, pop-song oriented half. This half of the record is upbeat and happy for the most part, building from an unabashedly romantic beginning towards a kind of euphoric rapture and quiet denouement.
This is the happy part of the record. The part that is calculated to lift spirits. This is the “Hollywood” Side of the record – a world where there can only be a happy ending.
SIDE TWO is far more interesting. It delves deep into the darker aspects of love and relationships, exploring more complex emotions like sadness, disappointment, anger, betrayal, but also lust, desire, longing.
This is the REAL-LIFE Side of the record. The Side that understands that life isn’t Hollywood. Not in the least. And that relationships, while oftentimes magical and fairytale-like, can also be brutal and horrible, sad and disappointing, sensual, sexual and animal-like.
Both parts are important – one needs to always be positive and optimistic, but also be grounded in reality; be healthily cynical; understand that life is a give and take, and that as human beings we are flawed yet absolutely perfect; we have minds, hearts AND bodies that have to be fulfilled.
* * *
And then there is the BONUS TRACK.
When I started the journey of revisiting the album this year, I thought, somewhat wishfully, that I would write, compose and arrange a brand new song by the end of the year. As it turns out, I never got the chance – there just wasn’t enough time.
Instead, I’ve re-mastered an alternate version of the track, E.M.P.T.Y. A version I call the LOVESICK LA-LA-LA MIX, because of just how OTT it is.
The reason for releasing 2 versions of the same song is also to provide a window into the creative process. For each of the songs on the record, I have written, composed, arranged and recorded multiple versions – at least 2 if not 3.
I understand this to be quite normal for any composer.
In almost all of the cases, I decided on one version that I liked best. In the case of E.M.P.T.Y. I actually liked two versions, each of which sound completely different than the other. The “Original” version is rather straightforward – just electronic musical arrangements, and my voice. The focus should be on my voice and the sense of yearning I convey through it.
The LOVESICK LA-LA-LA version is far more dramatic and playful. I enjoyed recording it and revisiting it WAY MORE than I did the Original Version. This version is set at a slightly higher key – meaning I sing in a higher register and sound far younger and more hysterical. The overall feeling is bubblegum, reminiscent of Japanese Pop and Cosplay.
And then I surround my voice with a full choir of alternate MEs, all going “la-la-la-la-la-la-la” like there was no tomorrow; all lovesick with desire and longing.
Yes, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this Mix of the song. And so I’m including it.
After all, in creating and performing this record, I am playing Hyper-real Version Myself.
* * *
The reason for releasing an alternate version of an existing song, rather than creating a new one, is also that I feel that my dalliance with music is well and truly over.
And in releasing this record, I am finally sloughing my skin- sloughing KENNIE PAST – and metamorphosing into another version of myself, a KENNIE FUTURE.
Perhaps music will also feature in this KENNIE FUTURE. Who knows? Certainly, I don’t quite feel like it will at this moment in time.
At this moment in time, I am done with music. I’m ready to go on to become the VISUAL me, fully-fledged.
And so, enjoy all the tracks here, dear readers and listeners. And check out the special THE FACTS OF LIFE page I’ve also created on this blog.
And if you like what you hear, let me know. And perhaps I will finally create that new song, after all.
1 – MAGIC
2 – E.M.P.T.Y.
3 – 兩個人
4 – MORNING
5 – …THIS
6 – URBAN
7 – RISK
8 – MASOCHISTIC
9 – WATER……
10 – NIGHT
11 – MISTAKEN
12 – GLOWING
13 – THE FACTS OF LIFE
14 – WAITING
15 – E.M.P.T.Y. (Lovesick La-La-La Mix)