Teach Me How to Fly
This song was much like an elephant -- long
gestation period. Even over a 15-year period of development
and refinement, the message of the song has (sadly) remained socially relevant,
as much today as when it was first conceived.
When I arrived in Connecticut in 1979 from NYC, I began volunteering at a group
home for teenage girls. The stories they shared with me of their lives and home
situations were incredibly compelling, particularly because of the way
most of these girls were able to rise above the troubles. The common theme
in all their hopes, dreams, and sources of despair was the simple need to be
loved and cared for, particularly by their parents. The stories from these
girls over a five year period became the sources of many songs, mostly from the
Cityscape collection. When "Cityscape" was first released
(vinyl 1982) "Teach Me How to Fly" was not yet written or conceived.
"Teach Me How to Fly" began its life many years later. Even after
the original Cityscape, I knew I had not yet told all of the girls' stories, or
had fully done justice to the ones I did tell.
So along came Cityscape II in the 90's, when I had the
initial idea for "Teach Me How to Fly".
I had the music kicking around in my head for quite awhile and could see the story I wanted to tell, like a movie, but I could not find matching words for the music. I was out jogging one afternoon and, seeing a young dove fly over the cemetery, I thought of the phrase, "touch me, take me, teach me how to fly", which fit the music and provided a clear ending for the story. The
rest of the words then came easily, but I still didn't have the right way
to deliver the message. The first vocalist I worked with
wanted an uptempo feel, and that initial incarnation didn't feel right to me.,
but we went with it.
In 1996, we found an exceptional 16 year old female vocalist, Shauna Beth Mandelburg,
who could deliver the song as it was meant to be heard, from the perspective of
a teenage girl. So we did Version 2, working on it from 1996-2002, in live
performance and in the studio.
The final and current incarnation
came in 2008, making further refinements to words, melody and arrangement.
The vocal was now taken over by 16 year old Emma Passaretti in live concerts.
This final version, which we will use for the Voices For Hope program, has yet
to be recorded, but will be soon.
There is a live YouTube video
CD Baby Store