The first time I ever sang in a non-English language was when I took voice lessons in high school. One of the books that my teacher went through with me was a book of 101 Italian art songs. After Italian songs, we moved to French and German songs. Of course, my favorite songs to sing were the French songs. I hardly ever sang in English. But that’s the nature of classical singing: you learn to sing in languages other than English. Because actually, singing in English is quite difficult, but when you’re a native speaker, you don’t think about it. You’ve been speaking the language since you were a kid, so it’s natural to you. I do notice how difficult English is as a language when I’m watching clips of native French speakers singing English songs on the French version of The Voice. Why they don’t sing in French more often I will never understand (cultural imperialism aside). The contestants sound so much better in French!
But I digress.
Why all this talk about singing in foreign languages? Because this week’s song is in French!
I wrote so many French-language songs between 2015 and 2017, that I’ve been taking a break from writing in my second language. I do love writing in French. In some ways, I enjoy it more than writing in English. The sounds flow together so beautifully, more than in English, and the overtly nasal sounds lend themselves to singing higher, head voice notes. It’s for that reason that I enjoy singing in French more than I do in English.
When putting together my list of songs for my Thing a Week series, I realized that I only had one French song that I’ve written in the last few months! And it’s this week’s song, so youpi!
But don’t worry, I have included burned-in English subtitles so you can follow along with what I’m saying! It’ll be like a foreign movie, but with me singing!
I wrote this song after I learned a new word while watching an English movie with the French subtitles on: amerrir, which means splash down. It’s usually used to refer to planes making water landings (a Google image search for amerrir brought up a lot of screenshots and promo pictures of the movie Sully, that Tom Hanks movie from a few years ago about the Miracle on the Hudson!) I love how the word literally means “to the sea” (mer meaning “sea”). As I thought on this word, I got this idea of someone who’s always lost in their own emotions, maybe even letting themselves be carried away by them, and this person always has to be brought back down to earth by a loved one as a reminder that “hey, I’m here for you whenever you’re done.”
I don’t write love songs about needing someone desperately, I can’t live if living is without you, etc etc. The sort of “love” songs I write are more about being there for someone. I suppose that makes them more like “friendship” songs, but to me, love is a deeper form of friendship. I know that’s what Andrew and I have.
More often than not, between Andrew and me, I’m usually the one who has to be brought back down to earth. I tend to get lost in my own thoughts. But occasionally, Andrew becomes emotional too. So this is my version of a love song, but one that’s not “ooooh baby I love you and need yoooooooou.” It’s not co-dependent like so many love songs. It’s more realistic, more like a “hey I”m here for you when life gets crappy” kind of song.
Click below to watch and listen to this week’s song! And don’t forget to subscribe too, while you’re at it! 😀