Galleriet: Behind the Music - 'Senga'

Out of the four tracks on the EP, ‘Senga’ was the first one I wrote. It’s the song that nudged me into thinking that there was more where that came from and that I was probably ready to write, produce and release a new set of songs (which ultimately resulted in the 'Send Me Your Daughter' EP). The song takes its name from the visual artist Senga Nengudi, best known for her abstract sculptures that combine found objects and choreographed performance. It was specifically Nengudi's R.S.V.P. series of "performance objects" that got my attention and inspired the first few lines of the song;

 

"I feel immaculate tension 

From the floor to the wall 

The outer body dimensions 

The inner dialogue"

 

‘Senga’ was shaped around the funky bass line that plays throughout the track. I’d been toying around with bass sounds in Logic, not looking for anything in particular, when I came upon half of a bass loop that I loved. I say “half of a bass loop”, because I felt like the loop was good but missing some elements. I merged the loop with added notes that I contributed myself through my MIDI keyboard - and that’s how the bass line was born. That bass line then informed the glittery synths that gave the song an air of 70’s roller disco, juxtaposed with 80’s drum beats and what some have described as “operatic vocals". I quite like that description.

 

When it came to the vocals, I felt strongly about letting my full, natural singing voice be heard on this EP. I began moving toward that style of singing on my debut album from last year, ‘Romantic Gestures’, but wanted to push myself even further this time around. When I first started singing in my old band back in New York, I didn’t have much in the way of formal training as a singer. Inspired by bands like CocoRosie and Cocteau Twins, I would deliberately affect my singing voice in order to make it sound “more interesting”. That style of singing suited that project well but now that I’m on my own, and older, that affected voice feels like an old crutch that I no longer want or need. Singing in a full and unaffected voice, letting both vibrato and chest voice come into play, feels empowering. As a songwriter, I also found it meaningful to further explore writing songs that aren't all about love and/or a relationship with a romantic partner.

 

A prevailing theme in 'Senga', which I’ve touched upon in earlier writings in relation to the music video release, is the eternal struggle to get ahead, achieve and succeed. The constant fight for approval, from others but perhaps most of all from yourself. The dangling carrot that is always just out of reach.

 

"Hey! 

The circle has closed and I'm not in, 

I'm not in 

 

Hey! 

The carrot is hung and I can't reach 

I can't reach"

 

Listen to ‘Senga’ in its entirety on Spotify, Bandcamp, or any of the other streaming platforms. Or check out the music video below. Scroll down for the full lyrics.

 

 

'Senga'

 

I feel immaculate tension 

From the floor to the wall 

The outer body dimensions 

The inner dialogue 

 

Hiding beneath the man 

A stone, a rock, of sand 

 

Bleeding and breathing on 

 

Hey! 

The circle has closed and I'm not in, 

I'm not in 

Hey! 

The circle has closed and I'm not in, 

I'm not in 

 

I have a date with my maker 

You have a date with the girls 

Is it not real if I fake it? 

Is it alright if I curse? 

 

Longing to have the right 

Will you be mine tonight? 

 

Bleeding and breathing 

Under your ceiling 

 

Hey! 

The circle has closed and I'm not in, 

I'm not in 

Hey! 

The circle has closed and I'm not in, 

I'm not in 

 

Hey! 

The carrot is hung and I can't reach 

I can't reach 

Hey! 

The carrot is hung and I can't reach 

I can't reach 

I can't reach