~ Like the ripples in a pond, the work of one man spreads out and touches the lives of others ~

From The Soul of One ~ To The Hearts Of Many
Taylor Hicks "The Distance"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Somehow" by Taylor Hicks Is On My Mind

~ Thank you, Allyn ~

It is another Sunday afternoon and I have been asked to rescue my daughter from her computer problems. Armed with my Dummies Book, my favourite personally mixed CD, a large Tim Horton's coffee and, of course, a box of Timbits for the kids, I head out the door. My journey to the Telephone City is always a pleasurable drive.

As usual, the question arises as I approach the highway, "which way will I drive there today?". My mood is mellow and I decide to take the secondary highway where I can enjoy the scenery with no sub-divisions in sight. Trees, farmers' fields with rolled bales of hay, cows and horses enjoying the pastures on this lazy August afternoon are the things that I need to see so that I can "think".

The "slow" lane is my road of choice this afternoon. I am not alone on this ride though. Taylor Hicks, Michael Bublé, Jon Bon Jovi, The Eagles and Johnny Reid came along for the ride too. In my mind, I know that their music will inspire my thought process.

I see a Monarch butterfly flutter across the road in front of me and I take this as a sign that this is going to be another one of those rides. You know - it is a ride that will have me pondering my thoughts as I have done a few times here at The Pond. (So Different and Yet and The Saga Continues from earlier this year.)

My thoughts travel to Taylor Hicks and his "soon to be released" Early Works CD. I become focused on one of my favourite songs, "Somehow" which was originally recorded in 1997 on Taylor's independently recorded CD, 'In Your Time'.

My ears suddenly pick up the words softly being sung by Jon Bon Jovi:

You wanna make a memory?
You wanna steal a piece of time?
You can sing the melody to me
And I could write a couple of lines
You wanna make a memory?

My mind is flooded with thoughts. I think about the words written in my blog last week about Canadian Idol and how difficult it must be for the contestants on these types of reality shows to put themselves out there to be judged by millions of viewers.

Suddenly, I realize that not only is it difficult to courageously accept the criticism by those who judge performances on reality shows, but imagine writing your innermost thoughts down on a piece of paper or even a serviette, and recording a song that has been written with such personal thoughts which will eventually be judged by the world.

The songwriters, in essence, are "making a memory" which will become a part of the music world and hopefully, will find its place in the halls of music history. For me, it is a very astounding thought and I wonder if they think about that as they "pen" the words which will be eventually recorded?

The songwriter shares with the world, the pain and joy of good times and bad times. The gifted who are blessed with the ability to put their own words to music and then perform/record the song are ultimately judged by the success of the recording.

The songwriter willingly lifts the veil and invites us to feel his or her personal vulnerabilities. How many of us are willing to expose ourselves to those who are close to us or to people we will never know? Pride, understandably, often takes priority and we, as human beings, often do not want anyone to see our weaknesses or our emotional reactions to significant events in our personal lives.

Barry Manilow ~ "I Write The Songs"

The songs of the songwriters will touch the hearts of so many people in this world and hopefully, often help those, who are suffering an "ache in their hearts", to realize that they do not walk alone down the highway we call "Life".

My mind now goes back to Taylor Hicks and how he has written songs which reveal his innermost thoughts, willingly sharing the disappointments experienced when these songs were written. I turn the pages in his book, 'Heart Full of Soul' to see if there was any information about how he happened to write the song, "Somehow". The only reference I could find was that it was recorded back in 1997 after he left the band Passing Through.

With high hopes and costs of $4,500, Taylor chose to record 'In Your Time' and, unfortunately, he realized that "breaking into the music industry wouldn't be simple".

As I listen to "Somehow", I am intrigued by the depth of emotion expressed in this song. I am amazed that he, at such a young age, vividly describes the struggles faced by an aspiring musician. Was he singing about his own trials and tribulations? Personally, I think so.

Thanks to rugratnat14 for creating this video montage.

There's too many things
left to be unsaid
some live in a dark hole
sometimes in my head

but I'm all right
I'll get by

you want to feel their emotion
sometimes even hold their hand
but they're giving nothing in return
to suit their own demands

but I'm tired
and I'll get by

look at the people around you
stabbing at your heart
but you still smile in kindness
for not knowing who they are

and their stories have ended
and they've lit up the town
and it's time to go home
as they go and lay their bodies back down

you want to feel their emotion
sometimes even hold their hand
but they're giving nothing in return
to suit their own demands

but I'm tired
and I'll get by.

Taylor Hicks has travelled many miles over the years since writing this song. He has gotten by and only in the past few years, has he finally been able to make his mark in the music industry and on the Broadway stage. It has taken perseverance, determination and his love of music to get him to "where" he is going.

There will always be trials and tribulations for any entertainer in the world of music but these artists continue to reach out and touch those who are willing to listen to their music. While a glamourous life may be what most people perceive, we should remember that it has taken years of hard work and sacrifice for most of them to become successful in their craft. They hope that their music will stand the test of time.

In a recent interview with Derek Keeling (new Danny in Grease), which was written by Tom Nondorf, of Playbill News, Derek's response to this question further illustrates my point about it often taking years for artists and actors to gain recognition.

"Q: Taylor Hicks is currently Grease's Teen Angel.
Have you had a chance to talk with him?

Keeling: Yes, he's a really cool, down-to-earth guy.
He kind of got here in the same way, though on a bigger scale, that I did.
He knows what it is like.
One of the things that has happened with a lot of us (from reality shows) is people see you on a TV show and think that's the first thing you did, when a lot of us had been working in the business for awhile.
I got my first professional job ten years ago.
Taylor said the same thing.
He said he'd been on the road for about 15 years at the point of "American Idol", going around as a musician.
He said, "I worked 15 years to establish myself, and now I've been working the last couple years to re-establish myself."
I really understood what he was saying because I've had people come up to me and say, "Hey, welcome to the business. Welcome to New York."
And I say, "I've been here for awhile, but thanks!"

What would your life be like if there was no music in it?
As the old saying goes, "different strokes for different folks".
It is impossible for everyone to enjoy the same type of music or artists and this leads me to another thought.

While all of us may never agree on who is the best performer or which is the best genre of music, I wonder why we can't respect the choices of others? Why can't we respect that each artist has faced many closed doors and struggles while they try to climb the ladder of success? Is it simply human nature to be very close-minded, think we are always right and quickly criticize others for their choices?

Personally, I think that "Somehow" is one of the best songs that Taylor has ever written and I am so happy that it has been included on his 'Early Works' CD which is being released on August 12th along with other wonderful and insightful music that Taylor has written and recorded.

"If you believe in yourself, anything that comes your way - good, bad, or really ugly - can't knock you too far off track. Believing in yourself is the thing - sometimes the only thing - that will carry you through any situation."
Taylor Hicks ~ 'Heart Full of Soul'

I am anxious to hear your thoughts about "Somehow".
Until the next time that I have more "musings in the car",
enjoy the music and let it touch your soul.

Today's cup:


"Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling,
and instinct, not by rule."
~ Samuel Butler ~


RagsQueen said...

I, too, think about the words to "Somehow" and know that these words must have meant something really special to Taylor at the time he wrote them. This is a song that I would like to see 'go places' for him because of its calming melody and comforting words!

Anonymous said...

To quote your column : "The
writer willingly lifts the veil and invites us to feel his or her personal vulnerabilities."

I often wonder why anyone would expose themselves so willingly to those they do not know. There is always the possibility that song lyrics are not personal , but universal thoughts or generalized thoughts of others that writers are able to tap into. For Taylor, I think , at this point in his career, all his songs have special meaning to him. I wonder whether this will continue to be his pattern as he writes more and more songs. Will he continue to always "speak" from his
heart and soul or will he wander a bit as he tries to grasp the tenor and taste of the music audiences that he seeks to please.

Taylor seems pretty genuine to me .... " Somehow" , he will find a way!!!


DJinKC said...

I didn't hear "Somehow" or other IYT songs till months after Taylor’s AI win. I got lost in this songs lyrics. After difficult times in my own personnel life, I decided that I too would get by “Somehow”! So far, so good!
Great read Karin!!

Anonymous said...

"Somehow" you said it all.



KarinP said...

Ragsqueen, I would love for this song to be "heard". Thanks for the comment.

Cath, only time will tell if Taylor continues this pattern. We will know when the new CD is released in the Fall. I hope that Taylor continues to please himself with his music. The audiences will follow him if he does that, I think. I am so glad that you spent some time pondering at "The Pond"!

DJinKC, it is so good to see you here! A great song, in my opinion, is one that carries you through the difficult times and gives you the inspiration to hope that brighter days are ahead. I think that Taylor would be very pleased to know that his music touched you in such a personal way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope all is going well for you.

PTD, your visit and comment are very much appreciated. Thanks for dropping by!

Willpen said...

This is a great read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I have always felt so deeply about this song, as I see you all have. When Taylor finally started adding it to his set lists and changing it up to a faster pace I was flumoxed.

I kept asking myself why he would take this beautiful ballad and try to change it to an up tempo song.

Then something dawned on me. I started to think that maybe this song had come from such a lonely place in the head of a 19 year old. Maybe 30 year old Taylor could not go to the same place that he had gone to all those many years ago.

KarinP said...

Willpen, your perspective on the updated version of Somehow is a very interesting one. It is certainly something to think about.

Taylor is definitely not in the same place in this performance. This video has always been a been a favourite one of mine because Taylor seems to be really enjoying himself in this performance. I smile every time I hear the crowd screaming. It always reminds me of Elvis for some reason.


While hindsight is 20/20, I don't think that anyone enjoys looking back to the "lonely" times. Reflecting on "happy" memories from the past are always so much more enjoyable. Thanks for dropping by!