Week 50 – ‘I Wish This Was A Christmas Song’
by Frank Hamilton
It’s 12:43pm on Friday and I’m 43 minutes late for an all day rehearsal (but with good reason. We’ll get to that).
I’m currently sat on the Victoria line (northbound if you’re interested) on my way to practice for this Thursday’s show at the Camden Barfly (which is now officially sold out)!
You know you’re busy when you’re sat with your head in a laptop on a crowded tube and the people next to you are playing Monkey Tennis on their smartphone (with the sound turned up).
You know you’re super busy when you’re doing it for the 3rd day in a row and can’t stop yourself from humming the Monkey Tennis theme tune as you sit and inconspicuously write about the people sitting next to you.
The long and the short of it is, this week has been CRAZY… and here’s why:
To the people who were here last week, the week before and the 40 odd weeks before that: “Crikey. Didn’t see that coming!!”
To the people who weren’t here last week and have arrived since ‘The Best of #OneSongaWeek’ went to #1 in the iTunes S/S charts and #21 in the overalls: “Welcome aboard – better late than never, eh”. 🙂
I don’t want to get to too swept up in all this chart nonsense but it’s all been very exciting and I’ll definitely be boring my childrens children with this story one day…
Have you heard about the time Grandad Frank had a silly idea and recorded some songs on a laptop in his lounge before releasing a ‘best of’, crossing his fingers and somehow managed to (digitally) outsell Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, Gabrielle Aplin and every other Singer/Songwriter in the world (apart from Jake Bugg, who just reclaimed top spot) for the best part of a week?!
Anyway, that’s enough chart-related excitement for now… how about some festive cheer?
Weirdly enough this weeks song was born back in April when I took a 2 day break from touring round the north of England to stay in Manchester and collaborate with my friend Jonny Wright. We recorded ‘Another Love Song’ (which was released immediately as week 16) and somehow decided it was a good idea to plan ahead and start writing a Christmas single…
Behind the scenes of #OneSongaWeek plans come and plans go. The plan with this song was to make it my 2nd ‘proper’ single release of the year but somewhere along the line that plan was scrapped when I decided against releasing any ‘proper’ singles at all (for various reasons which we can talk about in 2013 when I start telling you some of the gory details).
Funny then that we’ve come full circle and this is now getting a ‘proper’ release (kind of).
In typical #OneSongaWeek fashion I left things until the last possible moment by waiting until Monday of this week to decide that the existing chorus wasn’t good enough and I should probably write a new one. I tried and I tried and I tried… but it didn’t happen.
I was due in for recording on Wednesday with the lovely James Earp (from week 21) and managed to write something that wasn’t awful on the way there. After humming my way down Sutherland Avenue I arrived at James’ and had one of those amazing moments where you’re reunited with an instrument (in this case a piano) and something you’ve just written in your head becomes a living, breathing noise. Awesome!
We spent all of Wednesday recording guitars, pianos and a new instrument called ‘me tapping my legs while holding a shaker’ and waited until 5pm to decide that the song needed a female vocal.
After lots of lovely suggestions, a few conversations and much deliberation my manager got in touch with someone else’s manager and we had ourselves a lovely female vocal.
Gang, meet Ebony Day…
Recently crowned MTV’s unsigned artist of 2013, Ebony has been doing the ‘Youtube thing’ for a while and is just preparing for her first proper release as a bonafide artiste. What’s more she’s lovely, has an awesome voice and can sing harmonies at the drop of a (santa) hat.
Ebony came round at about midday and by some freak coincidence Jonny (who was in town playing bass for Paul Heaton for 3 days) popped over to see how it was all sounding. We tracked Ebony’s vocals and fooled around with some tinsel before everyone left and I spent a few hours piecing it all together before toddling off to the new BBC building for an interview on radio5live (which will be airing soon, i’m not sure when).
I made it back to OSAW HQ around midnight and carried on working. The files needed to be sent to James Earp by 8am so he could work his magic and I also wanted to put a few subtle ‘bells and whistles’ on there, so I stayed up until 5:30ish recording ukelele, glockenspiel and strings.
Friday morning was hard work. I woke up around 10 and did a few odd jobs before liasing with James and settling on a finished version of the song (which needed to be sent to AWAL/iTunes in time for a Monday release).
Then I made a cup of tea (to go), walked out of the house and down the escalator to the London underground and here we are (on the Victoria line) – full circle once again.
“…and this time next year we’ll be singing those words,
Coz it’s so overplayed gets on everyone’s nerves”
THIS WEEKS SONG IS ALSO OUT NOW ON iTUNES AT MIDNIGHT SUNDAY NIGHT/MONDAY MORNING!
Here’s a link if you’d prefer to grab it from there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-wish-this-was-christmas/id587797540