Scott Alan: Behind the Song

BY Advocate Contributors

December 19 2010 5:00 PM ET


That’s all I was able to write at the time. I couldn’t find
other words to describe how completely trapped I felt or how losing the
ability to explain it in song made me feel even lonelier. 

I needed
to take a break — to just step away from the piano and from everything
around me. I took a vacation to Italy. No phone. No computer.
Traveled for two weeks. Stayed in the nicest hotels. Got fat. Drank
wine. Ate more gelato than I care to admit. And just breathed. In a
relationship it’s easy to forget yourself. This was my chance to get
to know me again.

When I returned I put all my energy into
finishing the new album. As minutes turned into months we had 11
songs finished. But my coproducer and arranger of the album, Jesse
Vargas, insisted that we add one more. I hadn’t sat at the piano since
I returned from Italy, too afraid to find that I may still be in the
same place I was before I left.

I sat down. Put my hands on the
keys. I took a breath. I wrote. When you’re so far from home / When
you’ve lost signs of hope / When you're searching for salvation / But
there’s none that you can find / When the words have disappeared / When the
melody's unclear / When there’s nothing left inside of you, is there
anything worth holding on to?
I sat for a minute ... there was still
something left to say. Cause I will still be holding on / To everything
worth holding on to.

I finished — six months after I'd started it, but it was finally finished.

decided that if this song was going to be the one to complete the
album, it had to be stripped down. On an album filled with lavish
orchestrations and arrangements, he believed that it needed nothing more
than its lyrics, its melody, the incomparable voice of Crystal Monee
Hall, and a piano.

The day I released the album I sat on my couch,
studying the cover. I took out my two previous albums, Dreaming Wide
and Keys, and put all three of them on my dining room table.
Taking a close look I realized that for now these are my children. And
I couldn’t be more proud of them. For the first time in over a year,
my heart felt full again.

An hour later I started planning the next birth.

Tags: Music