Do Not Despair
Do Not Despair marks the supernatural moment when despite everything, you decide not to lose hope. You cannot see, there is no direction, no visible light, yet still you decide to stand. You listen to a voice inside you saying: "Do not despair, pick up, keep fighting". This is your resurgence, your rise.
G - Do Not Despair is one of my favourite tracks on the album for a number of reasons. So much of it is spontaneous and spiritual. I started making it directly after I completed the majority of Make It Through (to be released). I was tired of being anxious, sad and insecure. My entire family left our property to go on a trip but I stayed back, giving myself space and solace. I felt empowered. I found a bassey sound I really liked, put it through an arpeggiator & had it repeating like it does at the start of the song. It was loud, it was powerful. I continued to add, making the song pounding, intense, mysterious; mesmerizing. As I was adding to the song one of my musician friends who lives in Mexico was messaging me. After hearing how lost I felt, he replied "do not despair" in Spanish. I immediately loved the sentiment as its not a common saying where I live. The snowball effect continued as remembered I had all these unusable recordings of Marcile, who'd fallen victim to a massive asthma flair up. She could not sing for more than five seconds without gasping and coughing, spoiling a large series of vocal takes for the album....so I thought. I located the discarded takes in my computers trash bin and realized I could utilize the difficulty, fear & frustration in her gasps as a structural element in the song. The raw file of her gasping while recording is below.
G - After creating all this momentum I became obsessed to push the song even further. I remembered Bayeux Cathedral in France (pictured below) that I visited when I was 16 (full story here). I wanted to put this song inside that space. I reached out to my cousin Alida (pictured with her accompanist below), an accomplished classical singer. I knew that adding her powerful operatic vocals, stacked in layers & harmonizing together, would bring this song into the endless vertical space that is Bayeux Cathedral. Being one of the most creative and open-minded people I know, she was on board without hesitation or questioning how I would use the notes I asked for. After acquiring separate legato notes from her I was able to layer them to make whatever chord I needed. These recordings became the classical vocals I used not only for Do Not Despair, but also for Conflicted and Stones. A screenshot of our message thread is included below.
G - With the addition of Alida, the song began to spread it's wings. It was a force to be reckoned with tho it had no lyrics, and that excited me. I wondered to myself if Lakreme could add her perspective to the beginning and middle of the track, since Alida was mostly concentrated in the end. I brought Lakreme (pictured above) into my self-built studio and that day her and I did a recording blitz, as she had to pack up and leave for Jamaica that very same day. The process of me instructing her to record vocal melodies with no words, based on feeling, emotion and concept is below. What she was able to do on the fly amazes me to this day. She truly is a gem on this track because she was so bold and open to accept my challenge to sing melodies with no words. Listen below.
G - The final finishing touch to this song was Marcile, tasked with hearing what was already in the song and adding the final element. As well as with Lakreme, I instructed Marcile to sing as if coming from a dark place of difficulty and sing herself out of sorrow. She dances delicately around Lakreme's powerhouse vocals, offering her shimmering signature touch to tie everything together.
M - To be completely honest, it was very intimidating to sing my section of DND. Alida and Auntie are big acts to follow, they both have big, bold voices and I was unsure as to whether or not I could even add to the song. It was however, a very cool experience to play off of the energy and emotion of their voices and to feel my own way through it. I think that concept in itself summarizes the some key ideas in the song. It's a process of navigating around despair and finding victory.