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If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab)

Posted By: Michael Zaneski

If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 03:02 AM

Hi all,

https://soundcloud.com/michael-zaneski/if-i-have-to-final-v113-hq-mp3

I told Kristi a few months ago that I'd love to work on a song with her that had the kind of minimalist piano that runs through much of Max Richter's work, and specifically "The Leftovers" which he scored and had specific piano motifs that were very simple but effective at evoking a mood of haunting beauty. When she showed me the lyric to "If I Have To" I said "that's it!"

I thought this was a mature, existential, lyrical take on the last days of a romantic relationship and yet there was some light in it, and so I wanted to set this lyric, and have the music follow suit and evoke the same things I was feeling when I read it.

Besides Max Richter, Michel Legrand has always been an inspiration when it comes to romantic songs. There's a classical vibe to scores like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and songs like "The Windmills of Your Mind" that just sticks with you. Jimmy Webb's syncopated rhythms also provided some inspiration.

All-in-all this was a seriously fun collab that started out as a simple piano/vocal song, but then diving deep into the rabbit hole and staying in the moment with it, became something more than that..

And so we'd like to share it with you.. smile

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************



IF I HAVE TO

So now
Time comes calling
Itís over before I know
And I
Canít bear to say it
So Iíll just turn and go

These tears
Run thru memories
That I will always hold
Today
Is a stranger
And yesterday feels so old

[ch]
And if I have to
I will say goodbye
Then find my way home
And if I have to
Iíll stop asking why
And live with the unknown
If I have to, I have to

Itís hard
To think of tomorrow
Without your company
You are
The one who always
Brings out the best in me

Oh life
Scatters wishes
In the willow trees
Iíll do
The best I can
To feel each morning breeze

[ch]
And if I have to
I will say goodbye
Then find my way home
And if I have to
Iíll stop asking why
And live with the unknown
If I have to, I have to

[br]
Oh, darkness fades when I remember
And lost dreams occupy my slumber
Like a flower in the pages of my life
Youíve left a deep impression on my mind

Repeat ch
********************************************************************
Lyrics by Kristi McKeever
Music by Mike Zaneski

©2018 All Rights reserved
Posted By: David Snyder

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 04:04 AM


This is a stunning piece of work, arrangement, lyrics, production, scoring, everything. A tremendous amount of work must have gone into this. Pretty mind-boggling amount of layering, shaping, retards, dynamics, builds, tension. Masterful.

So, I'm pretty amazed at this one. This is what I call good. Oh yeah.

Good work you two.

smile

One comment that is very small in the grand scheme of things: I COULD see a version where there was slightly less effects on the vocals and the mix was just tiny bit softer (tiny, I mean) but whose gonna pick on Bohemian Rhapsody? Not me.

smile
Posted By: Barry David Butler

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 05:00 AM

Very Beautiful melody Mike and nice words. Is that you singing Mike? If so get rid of that effect on your voice and let us here YOU ....You have a nice voice so lets hear it. B
Posted By: Dave Rice

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 05:39 AM

Congratulations, Kristi and Mike:

A wonderful collaboration. The "marriage" of words and music was darn near perfect. Kristi, that is one of the best lyrics I've seen here in quite a while... and Mike took each line and turned this into a fantastic song. I have no advice on the "effect" you use on your vocals, Mike. You are so good at producing... your knowledge and judgement have to come into play to meet the demands of the song. In this case... tender comes to mind... and it worked for me.

All of us tend to wish we had more "gear" in our studios but we must use what we have to the best of our ability. My Yamaha Arranger has a very marginal and difficult Vocal Harmony capability and I use it sparingly... but would love to have more harmony in nearly every song I write and record.
Because I live out in the "sticks" it takes too much time out of my schedule to drive 60 miles (one way) into the nearest big town and visit a big-box music store to explore and learn which VH unit is best for my needs and particular set-up. Available time and budgets create compromises that make our tasks even more difficult.

Great artistry on both counts. Enjoyed this so much. ----Dave
Posted By: Travis david

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 03:49 PM

Hi Kristi and Mike
I agree with Dave the lyric is excellent and what i'd expect from a gifted writer.
The music is stunning.Mike's vocals are truly exceptional along with his production skills and hopefully one day this will be discovered by a wider audience
First class classy and memorable
Travis
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 04:32 PM

Oh, my, what a fantastic piece of work! Such sorrow in the lyrics, expressed so soulfully in the vocal, and the musical production ties it all together masterfully! A really fine song, Kristi and Mike. Well done!

Ricki
Posted By: Nelson

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 05:34 PM

Yes indeed, it is a really fine collaboration.
Always been a sucker for a good (pie-anna) song and this here is a good one.
Sweet vocals / harmonies

2 Pros doing excellent work.
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 06:15 PM

Hi David,

Thank you for your very kind words! I agree with you: Mike is a wizard and takes a piece of writing on a journey, thru many, many levels. As lyricist, I am amazed, excited and relieved too at how he captures the emotion that I can only hope is written in those lines and sets it free!

Appreciate you listening and letting us know how it resonated with you!

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 06:22 PM

Hi Barry,

Thanks for your nice words and comments. Hmm...I canít speak to that ďeffectĒ you speak of...lol. I like the gentleness and resolve of Mike's vocals and I get a real sense of vulnerability from them as well.

Thanks for listening!

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 06:34 PM

Hi Dave,

You are so kind. smile Hearing you talk, I can only wish I had ďmusical chopsĒ....so sad that I do not. And I took several years of classical piano when I was a kid too. Youíd think Iíd have something to show for my perceived ďagonyĒ (at the time) of practicing Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, etc. I can open a book and play a bit, which I'm thankful now for, but I pretty much stick to the words now. Itís more satisfying to me. Mike created a beautiful song. His passion and artistry show in every note and Iím so happy to know you enjoyed it!

Kristi
Posted By: Calvin

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 07:24 PM

Hello Mike / Kristi,


Such a beautiful piece of art.....well done.


Calvin


http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/calvinstewart
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/03/18 09:26 PM

David, Barry, Dave, Ricki,Travis, Nelson, and Calvin..

Thanks for giving this a listen and I appreciate that, as well as your kind comments.

Kristi's lyric was sadly touching and poignant and stoic and very eloquently saying all the things I was feeling for this song.

This is a kind of hybrid orchestral/rock band ballad rendering of Kristi's lyric, and orchestras live in large halls, and so the lead vocal should follow suit and live in that same space while not being swallowed up by it, for sure, so I made sure that all of Kristi's words were clearly understandable while letting the vocals live in that large hall, and feel like they're coming from approximately 10-15 feet from the front row center, where the listener is..

Thanks again.. smile

Mike

Posted By: Wendy D

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/04/18 07:48 PM

Well, this is just lovely. Man, the bridge at about 3:27. The way this comes back to the melody in such a seamless way. Makes my head swim!

Mike - your singing on this is really, really good.

"Today is a stranger and yesterday feels so old." Kristi, this is an awesome lyric.

Good work, both of you.
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/04/18 09:14 PM

Hi Travis,

Hey, thank you for your very kind words. Iím happy to hear it was memorable for you. ďFirst class classyĒ is a great line! Someone will have to use it in a song! Ha

Yeah, we all can only hope a wider audience hears our music, right? wink

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/04/18 09:20 PM

Hi Ricki,

Yeah....Mike does really hear what the words are saying and knows how to dig into them and create something memorable. smile

Thanks so much for listening!

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/04/18 09:28 PM

Hi Nelson,

Yeah, me too...about the ďpie-annaĒ songs! LOL So glad you enjoyed it!

Thank you for your nice words! smile

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/04/18 09:34 PM

Hi Calvin,

Itís always amazing to me to see what Mike does with some words I put on paper...

Thank you for listening and your kind words. smile

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/04/18 09:43 PM

Hi Wendy,

Hey, thanks for taking a moment to listen and your nice comments! smile

Kristi
Posted By: David Snyder

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/04/18 10:58 PM

Michael and Kristi,

One more thought as I sitting waiting for your next masterpiece. I think this posting validates and seals forever in the judgment halls of eternity two points I have been trying to make on this forum since I joined.

1.) It is very possible to create a radio quality, print to vinyl or CD quality PRODUCTION--not demo--but PRODUCTION in a home recording studio if you know what you are doing. A guy who started the band Boston did it on ALL his records playing every instrument himself when he wasn't making his own stomp boxes with a soldering iron, and the record company made him sign a piece of paper saying he wouldn't tell anyone he did all the albums himself in his basement. Gosh, what was that guy's name?? And the school he went to, what was that again....MIT?

2.) Sometimes, after pulling off such a feat, any true artist might say, "Thanks for the feedback yo, but I did what I was trying to do. Peace Out. Love ya!!!"


Thank you both for so successfully arguing my case for me--and winning! The Supreme Court is now finished with this case and our verdict is final.

Next!

smile
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 12:35 AM

Wendy,

I'm glad you enjoyed the song (and my singing)..and your comments made my day.

Thanks, friend.. smile

Mike
Posted By: RichMac

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 12:36 AM

Hi
I'm not up to much technical analysis but find this hauntingly beautiful.
Cheers.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 01:33 AM

[/b]
Originally Posted by David Snyder
Michael and Kristi,

One more thought as I sitting waiting for your next masterpiece. I think this posting validates and seals forever in the judgment halls of eternity two points I have been trying to make on this forum since I joined.

1.) It is very possible to create a radio quality, print to vinyl or CD quality PRODUCTION--not demo--but PRODUCTION in a home recording studio if you know what you are doing. A guy who started the band Boston did it on ALL his records playing every instrument himself when he wasn't making his own stomp boxes with a soldering iron, and the record company made him sign a piece of paper saying he wouldn't tell anyone he did all the albums himself in his basement. Gosh, what was that guy's name?? And the school he went to, what was that again....MIT?

2.) Sometimes, after pulling off such a feat, any true artist might say, "Thanks for the feedback yo, but I did what I was trying to do. Peace Out. Love ya!!!"


Thank you both for so successfully arguing my case for me--and winning! The Supreme Court is now finished with this case and our verdict is final.

Next!

smile


Hi David,

Though I appreciate the nice things you said about our song in #1..

the point you are making only needs to be made with Bugsey aka Fdemetrio over in the BIAB thread, it's your battle with him, and maybe with Marc Barnette, instead of what you are doing here. Why here? Please don't throw me in the middle of it. I've made my peace with Marc and whatever Bugsey's real name is and we're all cool with each other. Feel free to go back over there and argue with him about radio quality productions involving BIAB if you want, and even use this piece as an example.

On point number two..so..any TRUE artist might say, "I did what I intended to do" okey dokey..did I ever say anything differently? I think my point with you was that you didn't disagree when I asked you on more than one occasion, "so everything you do in the songs you present is intentional, then?" Artists are human beings and so make mistakes, and sometimes an artist will miss something. Something unintentional will and does happen. This is why feedback is important, even for true artists. Sometimes folks will get the wrong meaning from a work, one the artist hadn't envisioned. How is one to know with the shield of "I am artist, everything I do is intentional" around them?

But I don't think even a true artist has a right to infer a JPF member is a troll simply because they are giving an in-depth critique. Nor does being a true artist give a person the right to follow the critiquer they don't like into another person's song post and then MOCK the critiquer-they-don't-like's critiquing style. Nor does being a true artist give that person the right to go to a post of the critiquer-they-don't-like and infer that there's "ton's of (negative) things they could say about their song, but see how cool I am, I'm gonna not do that and then maybe PM you about it," inferring that that's the way everyone should do it.

Nope, in my humble opinion, these are things that a true artist CAN do, but they are still kind of passive-aggressive and smarmy things to do, in my humble opinion, and yes, true artists are people, and people can be very insecure and do hurtful things, sorry to say..and it makes it very hard to hang out here, sometimes, and observe such behavior..not that I am perfect. Far from it. I hate seeing these things in myself, as well.

Then you say, "Thank you both for so successfully arguing my case for me--and winning! The Supreme Court is now finished with this case and our verdict is final."

Wow..I'm speechless with that..

David, please start a thread in the General Forum, "how I think we should critique" --I did one a few years back called "critiquing critiquing" that got lots of input. Be open to the possibility that other people may have other ideas about what it means to critique. And start one called "what being a true artist gives you the right to do" as well, if you feel strongly that being a true artist gives you the right to say ""Thanks for the feedback yo, but I did what I was trying to do. Peace Out. Love ya!!!"

These seem to be important things to you, because this is the second thread in as many days that you've posted things un-related to the songs posted in order to make "points in ongoing arguments" that you are apparently having with not me, nor Maroon, but with yourself.

I can't get caught up in any of this. These are your private battles. I am just making observations based on what I see, but need to work on music and so I'd appreciate it if any further talk on this subject be done in a thread of your own making.

Sincerely,

Mike


Posted By: TC Perkins

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 05:47 AM

Melancholy song that embodies regret in a convincing way.

Solid vocal delivery, and production. I liked the lyrical style quite a bit.

Nicely done.

Peace,
TC

PS: Mike, on reading your post preceding mine - sometimes those 'mistakes' you mentioned are magic and make the song even better. Kinda like peanut butter and chocolate :-p
Posted By: floyd jane

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 02:50 PM

Kristi/Mike,

This is gorgeous. A beautiful write - both lyric and melody.

The Legrand/Webb influences are evident - and perfect for this! (Mike, I'm sure you know what a Jimmy Webb fan I am).

This is a great listen. I'll be back later to listen again...

A big WOW to you both.

floyd
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 10:45 PM

Hi again, David,

Maybe Mike's right and a new thread in the General Forum about other aspects of songwriting beyond the specific song at hand would be fruitful and enlightening. smile

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 10:50 PM

Hi RichMac,

Well, you know....sometimes it's better to just let the emotion inform you and "technical analysis" is not needed. In fact, too much technical analysis can strip away the beauty you're talking about. I think that's why I hesitate sometimes to read technical books on writing lyrics. Don't want to bleach out all the "good" stuff! Ha

I appreciate your feedback. smile

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 10:55 PM

Hi TC,

"....embodies regret in a convincing way." Speaking for the lyric, I can only hope what I write is convincing ~ one never knows ~ since when I write, every word is silent...so it can be tricky! grin

Thanks for listening!

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/05/18 11:00 PM

Hi Floyd,

Hey, thanks for your kind words and for taking time to listen and comment! smile

Kristi
Posted By: E Swartz

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/08/18 10:59 AM

Kristi/Mike,

I don't know how I missed this one! It is great to see Kristi's lyrics along side of your music Michael, and they are beautiful. Another great production Mike Z for sure. I really like the bridge which is very effective with this song; I did "wonder" a bit if the last two lines of the bridge might be reversed putting the metaphor last--not sure, but just a thought?

Great job guys & gals!

steady-eddie
Posted By: Dave Rice

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/08/18 01:21 PM

Kristi:

I saw the title again... near the top of the MP3 board... and was drawn in for yet another listen. I know Mike hit a home run with it... but you provided the inspiration, my friend. Please give us a "heads-up" when you are ready to "roll-out" another masterpiece. You are pretty darn special when it comes to writing. Thanks for your talent. ----Dave
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/08/18 01:39 PM

"Today
Is a stranger
And yesterday feels so old"

What a gem. Maybe it's just me, but it was somewhat joyous to read something expressed so quickly, so gracefully, with such fullness.


I apologize for the intrusion on this song but I have a suggestion for this verse;

"Oh life
Scatters wishes
In the willow trees
Iíll do
The best I can
To feel each morning breeze"

Maybe;

"Life's wind
Scatters wishes
amongst so many trees
Iíll do
The best I can
To feel each morning breeze"


A lovely song to wake and read and then hear.
And Mike found a place for his "Leftover's" fetish. wink A lovely place.

Kristi and Mike,
Very nice.


Posted By: lane1777

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/09/18 04:03 AM

I almost missed this Mike and Kristi..what a complete song you both have here. I don`t have any nits great song you two. Lane
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/10/18 01:45 AM

Hi Eddie,

Oh, I see what you did there....lol...in the bridge. Thanks for that idea! Yeah, I guess it would depend on whether I wanted to leave the bridge with an image of this other person (flower) or the state of mind of the singer (deep impression). And I think it could go either way, considering the intentions. I kind of like how ďdeep impression on my mindĒ leans into the resignation of ďIf I Have toĒ and kind of rubs against the grain there of how they feel. Mike's music responds to that too to my ears. As with many things, itís a creative choice and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention; and also the idea of flipping lines ďto seeĒ what happens! smile

Thank you for your kind thoughts!

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/10/18 02:04 AM

Hi Dave,

Oh gosh...you are too kind. What a warm and friendly thing to say, not to mention coming back to listen again....so supportive! I think itís the support of fellow writers like yourself that means so much because you know the process. But more than that, you know where it comes from too and how to get it ďout thereĒ.

Thank you, Dave. That meant a lot. smile

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/10/18 02:24 AM

Hi Martin,

Itís never an intrusion to offer writing suggestions to me! I find the process fun, actually! I remember writing that verse and thinking what do I want to say there? I used willow trees because of what they look like...kind of droopy. I thought hey, why not put some wishes in willow trees. An "image matching the sentiment" kind of thing as if wishes could make them droop because they havenít been realized yet! Not sure anyone but me gets that, but yanno. I donít tend to disclose my thought process like that...lol...but since it came up...there it is. wink

I appreciate all of your suggestions and taking time to listen to our song!

Kristi
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/10/18 02:29 AM

Hi Lane,

Thank you for taking time to have a listen and your very nice comments! smile

Kristi
Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/11/18 02:28 AM

Wow - this is the best match of music to lyric that I have heard in a long time!

That can only be done by a musician who really really resonates to the lyric.

Sad and beautiful and yes, a ray of hope - this person is stronger than he/she thinks.

Great collaboration!

Scott
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/13/18 01:32 AM

Hi Scott,

Iím glad you got a ray of hope and also strength within this scenario. Yeah...itís really fascinating how Mike finds and gets to the heart of the story and allows it to take him wherever it may lead him!

Thank you for listening and for your very nice feedback! smile

Kristi
Posted By: Janice & Bud

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/14/18 10:38 PM

To quote floyd "This is gorgeous. A beautiful write - both lyric and melody." And as Scott alluded to there does seem to be ray of hope trying to work through the scenario.

We could not agree more regarding the write. We will add that the arrangement and vocals beautifully support the write. And it all presents a very nice soundstage on our monitors.

Well done y'all!

J&B
Posted By: Kristi McKeever

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/18/18 09:12 PM

Hi Janice & Bud,

Hey, thanks for your nice comments! Itís great to hear how the song resonates with people. Iím glad the ray of hope is present to you amidst the emotions.

Also, very pleased to know you enjoyed the overall sound....Mike has a way of corralling the feeling and giving it back to us all in so many layers...

Thanks for listening! smile

Kristi
Posted By: Dave Rice

Re: If I Have To (Kristi McKeever/Mike Z collab) - 02/21/18 04:31 PM

I saw this one "flash by" as I roam the boards again... and had to listen one more time.

Don't wanna be a "street teamer" but my feelings about this song have not changed. It is so ready for the big time, Kristi and Mike. Wonderful work! ----Dave
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