A Very Happy Accident: A Kristin Carter Guest Blog

by - November 16, 2023

Photo courtesy of Liz Rosa Photography

There are few things scarier in life than a blank canvas. The little voice in my head has me frozen with fears of, “What do I do first?”, “What if I mess it up?”, or the worst one: “What if I do it, and it’s bad?”. You have to start in this exact vulnerable and humbling situation every time you create. However, it’s not often that you need to do it multiple times for a single project. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when we created “I’m Still Here”. This is the story of how the failure of Plan A led to an all-acapella track; an unlikely but happy accident.

I remember the day we wrote “I’m Still Here”. It was rainy and gloomy, very typical for Vancouver. We plunked out chords and scribbled down lyrics on a notepad in a tiny studio off Broadway till we felt like we had it right. We filled our blank canvas number one by carving out what the song might sound like. The original vision for this song was a huge, glorious instrumental, something to lift up the emotional and cathartic lyrics in the style of my favourite 90s power belters, and that’s what we went for.

After recording all the parts for it, Marcus (my co-writer and co-producer) texted me several weeks later to give me the news: Canvas One had to be thrown out due to issues with the recordings that weren't fixable.

So there I was, staring at an empty Logic Project, trying to figure out how to rescue a song I deeply cared about.

Blank canvas two. Do we change the idea altogether? Do we record again? These questions buzzed in my mind as the heavy cloak of anxiety blanketed me. The cost of more studio time would set us back, and we were too deep into our full-length album project, Full Bloom, to make song list changes. I knew exactly what I wanted this song to feel like - a wave, a breath surrounded by the intangible sound of being alone with your thoughts. Then I thought, “I could just create it all with vocals here in my bedroom, then just swap in instruments later!” and made my first splash onto Canvas Two with the track called the “ghost note” - an eerie and consistent high-pitched tone that spans the length of the track.

“Okay - doesn’t suck, let’s add something else!” Then came a trio of vocals that swelled in harmony; then came three more to add to that, and then three more. The base was slowly building.

17+ vocal tracks later, I added some reverb to make it pretty and sent it to Marcus. “Like this, but with instruments?” I asked. After talking it over, we both agreed to leave Canvas Two as is, and shape it to build the entire song. We felt like if we added anything new, it might ruin the balance. The choir girl in me was screaming with excitement.

I’m Still Here” was released built entirely by the voice, and even though it was a sharp turn in direction, it felt like it was what was supposed to happen. A very happy accident - despite everything falling through on us, through resilience to persevere, we are still here.

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