• Kireina Michan

"More than Lies" turns 1 - Looking back

Hello everybody! Life has been hectic recently. Starting a new semester in college, preparing to move out of Japan in the middle of these COVID crazy times (with an entire house, 2 cats and an Aussie!)... farewells to my host country, quitting a job... I got a great friend of mine lending me an average of 4h per day of his time, to manage to do my stuff (very kind of him, I should say ;) ) Anyways, between the rushing and the running from one place to another, I just realized the song that started the change of the rest of my life... my first as lead singer after I started singing lessons, the one that so many people loved, the one that let me in so many other exciting collaborations, and started so many amazing friendships... "More than Lies", is just turning 1. After this song got out, I literally fell for music in an unstoppable and hard to define manner: it was the turning point that initiated the most unexpected and exciting turn in my life, so far. If you asked me where would I see myself in one year, just before I got this song done, I would have told you that of course, continuing with my career in science. But after I pressed "upload" that mastered version which my talented friend Johan put in my e-mail... all the future view of myself started to become blurry.

"Music is so amazing and rewarding... wouldn't I be happier dedicating myself to it?" - I used to find myself wondering.

The more the time that passed by, the more convinced I felt I wanted to work in music. More songs came, and I got really involved with other musicians, not just for collaborations, but also checking and sharing their songs, and enjoying so many surprising tracks and charming artists I was finding in the internet music family.

All of this music adventure started with More than Lies, and thus, this song is the most special for me, the one that will always give me shivers and bring me back to those important times, that occurred not so time ago, and still feel like a lifetime. But: how did I end up working in this song?

At the beginning, it was all about lyrics.

I grew up reading novels and poetry, and willing to be a journalist or a writer. One of my best friends, Carlos, and I, used to exchange books when we were in school, and read each other the stories and fantasies we were thinking and writing about. In school we also had to study a lot of Spanish literature and I was forced to start reading poetry (something that is not the tastier dish when you are 12). But after the initial struggle, I got hooked. There's something in the rhythm of the poems, in the use of the words, the imagery... that for me is captivating and extremely powerful. I started writing, and I found in poetry the greatest tool to put down my deepest emotions and most intimate thoughts... and help myself (and others) to connect with them in the moments where you need them the most. They are a snapshot of your heart in a particular moment. A snapshot that moves, beats... a snapshot that is able to bring you your best summer day in the beach, that cold morning when you went for a walk and you felt the world was going to end, or the night in that crappy pub where you first crossed your eyes with who was going to become a passionate and unforgettable love. That's what I see in poetry, and I love it for that.

There's something in the rhythm of the poems, in the use of the words, the imagery... that for me is captivating and extremely powerful.

After a little while, by observation, I realized that poetry is not something easy to digest for everybody. A lot of people that love to read, don't really consume poetry so often, not to mention people that don't normally read. For this reason, even if I kept writing, I didn't really see my poems like something I would be actively willing to share. I thought this deep feelings I keep for poetry, were more a product of my romantic bias, rather strange and not shared by many others. And in this state of things, time passed and passed... till I moved to Japan. When I joined the laboratory, I got to sit next to a student, that was here for a one year internship. By being together so many hours, we ended up talking a lot and becoming friends. Soon we discovered we both liked to sing and play music, so we decided to try to hang out and cover songs that we both liked. In my workplace we have the chance of using a music room with a grand piano, for free and at our will... and it turned out that my lab-mate was an outstanding piano player, able to wonderfully accompany, sing, make harmonies, arrange songs... I will talk further about this nice period in another moment (and maybe share some interesting secret recordings...), but in summary, this times of sharing musical evenings with my friend taught me how much pleasure and joy music can provide. I thought a lot, and felt so thankful for the artists making those songs we were playing and that we loved, and I really felt I wanted to give something back to music. My friend left, and since I wasn't good playing any instrument, nor particularly trained singer... I thought poetry (transformed into lyrics) would be that bit I could possibly give back. With that idea in mind I searched for music forums, and I found a nice looking one called Songstuff. I found there music lovers in all different levels of their music journey, and I got to interact actively with many of them. In between that forum users, I got in contact with Johan Johansson, with whom I made the song Sakura Rain and who helped me in producing many other songs (including More than Lies), and Chris Carnucci, a really talented and humble singer-songwriter from the US, that one day asked in the forum for a female vocalist to sing one of his songs. That song was More than Lies. I had just started singing lessons, and I had no experience doing lead vocals. I worked with Chris in the key that better resonated in my voice, I worked with my sweet and really encouraging singing teacher Rivonne on my vocal performance. She wanted me to open up my voice, and sing in a clean and honest manner. It was so hard, for me, with the level of singing I had by then and all my bad habits, to get the song sounding nice. I had to re-learn how to sing, and in the process I found my voice and I got fully into music. Chris had some sections of the song in stand by for writing, depending on the final key and the feeling me the singer would be providing to the song with her performance. So, I not only had the chance to put voice to his amazing sing, but I also had the chance of writing and building up part of the song in my own terms.

More than Lies is a story about a love that is torn, but problems on that line happen in many other aspects of life: our friends, our jobs, our career, our future... Sometimes we just get trapped in a present we don't want.

More than Lies is a sad song, about a girl that realizes that she has been trying too hard and too long to keep a love that was not working, trusting excuses and lies, and not willing to see what was already in front of her. Holding on to something that doesn't make you happy just delays (sometimes forever) that new start that might make your life brighter again. More than Lies is a story about a love that is torn, but problems on that line happen in many other aspects of life: our friends, our jobs, our career, our future... Sometimes we just get trapped in a present we don't want. We we are not where we should be, but still we don't take the determination to moving on. Sometimes the reason is contempt, laziness, difficulty in the logistics of the change... but in most of the cases it is fear. Fear of deceiving or hurting others, fear of getting out of our comfort zone, fear of failure. But we just have one life, and it flies fast and unstoppable. There is no time to lose when it comes to seek for our happiness. If we feel that something is not right, it is taking our good moments and hijacking our thoughts, we need to change it, and we need to change it as soon as possible. Change can be scary, but it is also an adventure, and sometimes it truly brings us back to life.

Change can be scary, but it is also an adventure, and sometimes it truly brings us back to life.

The demo track of the song was made by Chris in piano, and when my vocals were laid down, we realized we needed to complement the arrangement. Chris and I envisioned strings, some percussion... something able to give the song more depth. But we didn't know many string players, or other musicians able to provide the parts that we thought were lacking... it was frustrating because we really wanted to make this song great. It was then when I thought about asking my friend Johan (that now is studying web development... but he studied music production before!), to complement the arrangement of the track and do the mix and master. He was really willing to experience with strings and other more classic instruments... and he didn't hesitate to say yes to working on the song. When he sent us his arrangement, Chris and I (and some other friends of mine that listened to the original recording and then that final mix) really felt amazed. He did an excellent job, and put the perfect final touch to this beautiful song.

More than Lies was the beginning of everything and this month, when it is turning one year old and I felt that I really wanted to share this story with you. I have also made the track available for streaming and download in high quality format (wav), for the ones willing to keep a copy of it in your lives. You just need to go to my home page, scroll down to the music player and press "download track", and a download link will be sent to your email address.

More than Lies was the beginning of everything.

As I said, More than Lies is a really important song for me, it has a deep story, a deep meaning and I will be tremendously happy if you have it and, with it, I get a bit closer to you. Maybe, in some years you will check back an old hard drive, find the song there, listen and remember these strange times. So, please, take a little bit of me, a bit of Chris and a bit of Johan with you. I hope you enjoy this song as much as we do.

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