VOLUME 4 of The Great Release Project
It was mid-October 2013. I was training my replacement for the playback position at Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay. About 15 minutes into the first show that night, I was reflecting on a comment that I had read earlier in the day, “No one listens to music anymore. When I was young, buying an album, playing it back to back and looking at its artwork was an immersive experience. It took all of my focus for 44 minutes. Today, now people only listen to music on earbuds or at shopping malls.“
Shopping malls, shopping malls, shopping malls… It kept ringing in my head and I was thinking about that last part of the quote, shopping malls. Next thing I know, I take out the notes app on my iPhone and I started writing.
I’m Going To Buy Everything In This Store was the first song I wrote, in a matter of minutes. The next one was, Coffee’s Too Hot. After that I wrote Closet Full Of Stuff. Within three hours that night, I had written nine songs, including Stop Honking (I’m Not Finished Texting, Simple Icons, I Need New Shoes, Credit Limit, Love The Mall and I Need A New Tattoo. The next day, after I came home from work at midnight, I had written nine grooves to the nine songs by 4 AM.
Obviously the content was coming from the context of a spoiled, rich, white girl who loves to do nothing but shop and get into trouble. “But do I know any rich, white young girls that can sing?” I asked myself. The answer was “No,” so I decided to record her vocals myself.
After trying out some digital vocoder options, I decided it best to enter the analog world. I ordered some hardware on eBay, which showed up a few days later. For the next several nights, I came up with a vocal sound and I laid down vocals for the songs.
A few days later, I was back in California shopping for Halloween costumes for my sons, with a CD of the rough mixes playing in the car.
“Who is this?” One of my sons asked.
“Me,” I answered.
“That’s not you - that’s a girl!” said my other son. “Play it again. I like it.”
“Yeah! I wanna hear it again,” said his brother.
Upon hearing that I realized that I might have something of substance here. I decided to call the character Fymila.
The boys had a friend from daycare a few years earlier whose mother, Jen, was an illustrator. I knew she was a bad ass artist. I had seen her anime and her manga before, so that Christmas, we went to visit them, as they had moved 60 miles away to the Valley a year earlier.
I play the songs for her, which made her laugh. Then I proposed the idea of her drawing up with a character that would be a virtual recording artist. She loved the idea and we came up with an agreement. Shortly after that, she began working on the character. I fell in love with her first draft. Jen came up with the logo and a few more drawings of what she would look like.
About a month after that, I went to an Orange County Meetup called Orange County Electronic Music Producers. The meeting consisted of members playing their tracks and getting critiqued, as well as some tutorial presentations later in the evening. When it was my turn, I played Closet Full Of Stuff. It was jarring for me to see everybody grooving in their seats, laughing and cheering at the song’s end. Like my sons, they all wanted to know who was singing, and how I pulled it off when they discovered it was me.
At the end of the evening, I had met a multimedia artist named Nicolas Nami. We had a meeting shortly after that, where I explained to him that I have a five-year plan for Fymila - first year the album release, second year three music videos, third year a TV show based on her character and her shenanigans, fourth year a live concert tour and the fifth year a full length, feature movie.
Nicolas said he could help with the video, so we started production on the song, I Need A New Tattoo. I had flown in Gina Gleason from Michael Jackson ONE in Vegas to Burbank one morning so we could have her on green screen for the video for her guitar solo, appearing with Fymila. Also, I had hired Kany Diabate from MJ ONE to do all of the Fymila motion capture for the video, as well as several other songs for future use.
As it turned out, some technical errors in the production of the video prevented it from being finished, and after my divorce, I no longer had the money to devote to the project.
Yet dreams never die, and I believe one day my five year plan for Fymila will come to fruition. I believe Fymila has the potential to entertain millions around the world, because as many people told me upon hearing her and seeing the few rough cuts we made, “I know her!” Or, “I’m married to her!” Or, as a few women have admitted, “That’s me!!!”