In celebration of the release of Origin Story I’ve been going through every track on the song list Song By Song and telling the stories behind them. You can find part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here, part five here and part six here.
As a final instalment of the series, I thought the best way to round it up was to tell the story behind the set of songs. The story behind how Origin Story came to be.
Origin Story is a rather odd collection. It’s neither a “best of” nor a completely new album. It has everything from songs in an electronic-bright-pop style, to country, to folk-acoustic, to ukulele-comedy. There are themes from every end of the spectrum like Doctor Who, fairy tales, ninjas, positivity, Xena and psycho girlfriends.
I suppose the fact that it’s so eclectic is one of the things that makes no sense on its own but makes a whole lot of sense when it’s considered in the context of the album’s primary purpose. The primary purpose, of course, is to wrap up six years of my music-making in one collection. To represent that journey and include within it everything from the first song to the most recent.
The coming together of Origin Story was a rather clunky process. I had many schemes and ideas, sometimes even fully fleshed out ones, that I dumped and restarted until I came to the conclusion that this was the best idea.
The Mega EP part of Origin Story was something I was strongly considering releasing on its own. At first, I had a fully fleshed out scheme to release the remastered versions of the songs from I XOX U (Emoji Song) until The Best Bit as a standalone CD called All Sorts Singles (a name I quite like and might reuse in the future :P). I was then thinking I could release the first five songs, perhaps with some acoustic bonus tracks, as the Mega EP.
At the same time I was having those ideas, I was scheming up a “best of” style collection. In my mind, at the time, it was something I would release after the other two and would only include 16 tracks in total. The name I had originally given this compilation was the Origins Compilation (a name that is quite similar to the one I finally went with).
As I mentioned in my announcement about Origin Story, I feel like I’ve come to a point now where I know more than ever what sort of artist I want to be. I have inside knowledge about what my future work is going to be like (hehe the perks of being the actual artist!) and feel like there’s a more solid direction to it. So, a collection to wrap that first part of my journey up feels like the right decision.
The plan was originally for me to discontinue all my earlier releases so only the Origins Compilation would be available. That’s an idea I’ve still been toying with for Origin Story. In my mind, the rest of the songs could still be available for people who really want to listen to my complete catalogue, but having the one album in most places would make it a lot easier for new people to hear my best work first without being overwhelmed or confuzzled.
So, how did Origin Story come to be a combined version of all these previous ideas? Well, it came after a lot of brainstorming and discussing the matter with people close to me. Ultimately, it was still my decision and it’s one I made for many reasons.
Firstly, I wanted to create something that both people who own my previous work and new people would want to have. 16 of the 24 songs have never been released on physical CD before (16 is also a bigger number than any of the tracklists on my previous CDs, so even without the repeats it’s a bigger album). And, for new people, it’s a perfect introduction to the full gamut of my work.
Secondly, I wanted to create a collection that was special and collectable. Having all those various projects in one was just one thing that made this three times more special. There was three times the scheming involved as each mini-project had a lot of thought put into it. I, also, put a huge amount of work into the art, the album booklet, the letter on the CD sleeve (which was edited about a billion times) and the selection process to make sure it would meet the mark.
Thirdly, I wanted Origin Story to literally tell my full Origin Story, to have the weight and meaning of that role. I worried that releasing it afterwards would make it come across as an afterthought. Something at best that’s a novel collection for new listeners, and at worst a way to monetise my pre-existing material. Origin Story is so much more than that. It means so much more to me than that and I want it to mean so much more to you as well. This collection is my heart, soul and artistry from six dedicated years. Origin Story is something so special, important and close to my being. It’s the story of how I came to be the artist I now am.
Bearing in mind that this was the backdrop to which I created Origin Story, I put A LOT of work into making it the most definitive collection it could be. If it was going to be the only thing most people would see then it would definitely have to be the best it could be. If it was going to be a representation of how I came to become the artist I am, it would have to truly plot that journey. I go through the full process of how the songs were selected in this blog, suffice to say for the purpose of the current post, A LOT of thought went into it.
A lot of work went into Origin Story. A lot of physical work, but also a lot of mental and emotional work. I hope more than anything that it can be something as special to you as it has been to me.
To wrap up this Song By Song series, I know I’ve mentioned this before. But, thank you for reading these stories and learning more about Origin Story and, my more literal origin story. It means so much and I feel so blessed that I have people like you reading and supporting my work. Thank you.