It started with a Facebook post.
In the midst of self-isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, local music producer and audio professor Darryl Lahteenma was looking for something to do to lift everyone’s spirits in an uncertain world. With so many musicians and songwriters stuck inside for the foreseeable future, he thought, why not write a song? So, Darryl posed that question on his Facebook page.
The response was instant, and Darryl was flooded with requests to join in on the new song. He set up a shared folder that contained the chord progression and drumbeat for the track. Participating musicians recorded their parts in isolation. Some used phones, some used laptops or other tech devices. None of the musicians heard any other parts of the song.
Toronto-based singer Sean Leahy, a.k.a Sleahy, takes the lead vocals for the resulting track, “Isolation”, having improvised a vocal booth in his apartment closet. He and Darryl McCarty share credit for writing the song’s timely lyrics.
As Darryl pulled together submitted files to produce the track, he was glad to find a common theme: optimism.
“Sleahy’s lyrics complimented that optimism but more importantly, he put into words what many of us were already feeling or wanted to feel,” Darryl shared. “I knew we had something special.”
An Ode to Isolation
The final product is a very fun synth-heavy song. There’s an accompanying music video, produced using clips of the various contributors recording in their home studios, living rooms, and closets. The video also tracks the trajectory of the song’s birth, from Darryl’s initial post to the compiling of dozens of tracks. The whole production is awash in 80’s neon. Cursive scrawls punctuate certain lyrics, and colourful lasers trace the outlines of drum machines.
My personal favourite part of the song and video has to be when a chorus of background vocalists join Sleahy in a glorious bridge. It includes the lyric, “There is a light, darling, just let it shine.”
All in all, the song captures a little bit of the downbeat feeling of isolation but ultimately finding some hope. As Sleahy repeats many times throughout the song, “We’re not alone.”
Be sure to check out “Isolation”. It’s a nostalgic yet extremely current track that celebrates the creativity and positivity of our music community.
Has your time at home spawned any new creative projects? Let us know in the comments!