Sing You My Song

Gather ’round, ladies and gentlemen – boys and girls! There’s a tale to be told about this one, and it involves my closest encounter with a major record label contract! twoSides was a pop/dance music project that my friend Dale Hopkins and I formed in the late 1990s following our mutual departure from SuburbanBoys. Dale took the helm on vocals and lyrics, with me manning the console, helping with arrangements, and handling a lot of the production side of things. The project was a complete blast and will easily go down as one of the least stressful experiences of my entire musical history. I mean seriously…how many bands or duos out there can claim that they never had a single argument or falling out across multiple years of writing and recording together? This one can. 😀

Special thanks to Jennifer Kirby for the photo and Dale for the cover design and layout!

If you’d like to hear more from Dale or twoSides, please visit: Dale’s Soundcloud Page

Year Composed: 1997

About the Song

The late 1990s was a period that found me in some widely varied musical projects. I was performing acoustically at local coffee houses, doing a mix of original songs as well as some of my favorite covers, and would end up signing on with Midnight Syndicate only about a year after this song was recorded. twoSides was born from the ashes of another pop music project – SuburbanBoys – which my bandmate Dale and I had been involved with for a number of years. Growing frustration with SB’s general lack of forward progress after years of trying led us to branch off to do our own thing: a dance-oriented pop project that also incorporated some rather diverse influences like Garbage, Republica, and others.

I think that both of us realized very early on that there was something special about this song. On the surface, it’s a catchy little dance tune with some deliciously soulful underpinnings. Underneath that lies a positive, thought-provoking lyrical message, and I think that the combination of the two – hookiness with substance – is what gave it its unique potency. We had been sending out demo tapes (yes, these were the days when mailing demo tapes to record companies was still a thing…) with the goal of securing a record deal for a while, but hadn’t seen much serious interest up to that point. With “Sing You My Song” taking over the top spot on our demo’s song lineup, however, it wasn’t long before we had managed to capture the attention of an A&R rep for one of the “Big Five” record companies.

You know how there are certain moments in your life that you can still picture long afterward? The kind that burn themselves into your memory because they’re that kind of once-in-a-lifetime? That pretty much describes the phone meeting that Dale and I had in my parents’ old kitchen one afternoon with the A&R rep. See, the thing is – we found out that the company wasn’t so much interested in us as a band, but simply in a song that we had written. This wasn’t an artist deal, it was a song deal. And we had decided, after talking about it at length, that we just weren’t ready to give up the reins to what we believed to be our signature song. It’s not that we felt that we could never write something with as much hit potential as “Sing You My Song” – I think it was more a statement that we wanted to be considered as potentially viable artists, not simply as a resource. Giving up the rights to that song would’ve meant that we couldn’t use it on future demos, let alone anything else, and that just wasn’t something either of us were ready to do at that point. Do I regret that decision? Not even slightly. I’ve thought about it quite a bit since then, and there’s certainly that logical part of me that is quick to point to the lost potential income and possible notoriety as a songwriting team and all of that. But that’s not what we were after, we knew it, and we stuck to our guns.

Dale handles all the vocals here. I turned the knobs, rode the faders, and threw in my two cents on the instruments/arrangement. 🙂

If you’d like to hear more from Dale or twoSides, please visit his SoundCloud page.

Photography: Jennifer Kirby Cover Design and Layout: Dale Hopkins

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