When I first realized that I had the ability to transform my life, my emotions, and my perspective into songs, I was filled to the brim with joy. I remember how free I felt. Free and vulnerable. Exposed. It was like everything inside of my soul had finally found a way out and there was nothing weighing me down.
I wanted everyone to feel this joy I was feeling. I had created lyrics and melody to some instrumental tracks a co-worker at the time had shared with me. Taking what I had written into the studio and recording it took this joy to a new level. Like a child showing you their artwork so full of pride and assurance that you will love it, I played these tracks I had recorded for everyone who would listen. Most people had positive feedback, some were less enthusiastic than I was but still I felt encouraged to continue. However there was one critique that stuck with me. When I heard the following two sentences regarding my music everything shut down for a moment:
“Who are you going to market this music to? White folks won’t get it and black folks will never accept you.”
Wow. It caught me completely off guard. I had never put a race or color to what was spilling out onto the paper. It had never crossed my mind that what I was recording would be disregarded because it wasn’t “white enough” or “black enough”. Marketing my emotions to a specific audience was foreign to me. I was confused. I was hurt. And then I was mad and motivated to get above it. So I did what I had learned would set this free and allow me to take back my power. I put it on paper. I sat down on my deck and wrote from start to finish, the piece that would eventually become “Watch Me Fly”.
That was the summer of 2003.
It stayed in my journal for several years. It stayed there through my 5 years in the band Intuition which I co-founded. It was still there when the band ended in 2008. It didn’t come to life until after I started working with Maurice Carroll of Stinkiface Music that same year. Even then I wasn’t sure I wanted to record it, but toward the end of a session with Maurice he asked me what song was next. Reluctantly I sang my idea for the song to him. I told him how it was supposed to feel and the emotion behind it. He immediately started putting keys down, lengthening the original hook and adding sitar and a marching drum. It fit. It was dreamy and strange. It was late and I was raspy when I recorded it but I remember it all clearly.
But now, Watch Me Fly was finally a real song and I was free from the sting of the words that inspired it years prior. I took those words, let them hurt me, released that hurt on paper, and then set it free in the music. It was mine now and instead of pain, I transformed it into something that would again bring me immense joy.
The song was released in the summer of 2009 as a single and then in September of that same year it was the title track of my EP when I signed as the first singer/songwriter with Stinkiface Music.
Over the last 5 years this song has become my “title track”. It’s my personal mantra and applies to many situations I encounter in life. More importantly it has connected me with so many people who have reached out to me via email, social media, and in person to let me know that this is their song too…that they listen to it every day, it tells their story, it helped them rise above, and that I have written what they couldn’t express on their own.
Eleven years after being told that no one would get my music and I wouldn’t be accepted I received the best compliment of all. Someone told me, “I listen to your music and I know that I’m not alone.”
This year I wanted to take “Watch Me Fly” to another level and possibly reach a new audience.
I handed this idea over to Baltimore house music producer/DJ N’Dinga Gaba. After we had some success in the house music world with our song “Feeling Fine” in 2013, I knew he would be able to give it new life. N’Dinga suggested we do a “Watch Me Fly” EP.
My connections to South Africa had grown immensely with the word of “Feeling Fine” getting around and my collaboration with N’Dinga who is originally from Central African Republic. There is a distinct sound and style that is coming out of this part of the world.
Over a year ago, my Facebook friends from AudioArque Records, Troy & Trevor in South Africa had already remixed the song with a unique tribal approach in their “Jungle Soul Remix”. They had truthfully remixed this for me “just because” and we weren’t sure how it would be released. But once an EP was decided upon I knew this would be a part of the package and I had held on to their version until the time was right.
Deep Sentiments, also from South Africa, came along a little later when I had started talking on Facebook with Tshiamo from the group of producers. They put a broken, laid back, sexy spin on their remix, “Deep Sentiments OPZ Vocal View Remix”.
Both the AudioArque and Deep Sentiments versions have the original vocal from the 2009 song.
I went back in the studio with my “Watch Me Fly” co-creator Maurice aka MoRece to put down a different vocal for his new version, a haunting remix with a different hook adding Iris Craig’s gorgeous voice on the harmonies. Yet another vocal track was recorded for N’Dinga’s remix and he also brought in UK DJ/Producer D-Malice for his version of the song.
So here we are!!
Today, December 15, 2014, N’Dinga’s newly launched label Global Diplomacy Productions is releasing my very first house EP “Janice B. Watch Me Fly ~ The Remixes” with contributions from N’Dinga and UK’s D-Malice, South Africa’s AudioArque Records and Deep Sentiments, and the original producer of the song, Maurice Carroll. Check it out on Traxsource!
No matter what version you prefer my wish is that the the song will continue to send a message of hope and empowerment to everyone it reaches. No matter how well it does on the house music charts I can tell you that the amazing love and positive feedback I have received because of this song keeps my spirit at the top of the charts. Every time I hear it in any version I am reminded that I can transcend anything that life throws my way. With a song I have the power to keep rising.