I love the process of songwriting. I have no idea where a song is going to take me when I begin to write. But in taking the leap into the unknown, I enter into a discovery process where I find joy and wonder. Sometimes writing is difficult and challenging; other times the songs seems to flow right through me and onto the page. Each song and each album has its own story of coming into being, a few of which I’ve shared below.
Click here for: DEBORAH’S LYRICS
The Time Has Come
I was inspired to write the song “The Time Has Come” after participating in my first climate rally in San Francisco. Before the rally I was afraid that I might be one of only a dozen people attending, which would confirm my fear that hardly anyone was willing to put themselves out there on this issue. However, when I emerged from the Bart station into the San Francisco sunlight, I saw thousands of people with banners and signs, and I felt my hope rise up in me. The song’s lyrics reflect both my despair about the climate disaster we’re creating and the hope that we can, through activism, influence our leaders to take meaningful action on behalf of future generations. Here’s my personal story about becoming a climate activist.
This song features Walter Ogi Johnson on native flute, Bhanu Abeysekera on pow wow drum, Scott Sorkin on classical guitar, and Doug Pohorski on bass, and was recorded and mixed by Doug Pohorski. I’m deeply honored to be among such talented musicians. The pow wow drum is the center of the song, symbolizing the heartbeat of Earth. I collaborated with the amazing filmmaker, Scott Bayer, to make a music video which features the song and celebrates the work being done by climate activists across the country.
My third album features my work with writer and guitarist Josh Coleman. Because we started collaborating first as songwriters, and only later as recording artists, we decided rather than purposefully recording all songs in one style, that we would to allow each song to “become itself” in the studio, resulting in an eclectic collection of songs with distinct moods.
“Trapeze” started as a song of only verses – for the life of me I couldn’t come up with a chorus. Josh “the king of choruses” to the rescue!
You Are All of These
On my second album, recorded by Tom Carr at the Music Annex in Menlo Park, we wanted to capture the immediacy of each song. So rather than record each track (guitar and vocals) separately, we recorded “live in the studio”. I played each song as I’d perform them: full takes of both guitar and vocals recorded at the same time. Then we chose our favorite takes of each song for the album.
Drill, Baby … Still?
I created “Drill, Baby … Still?” after the BP Gulf oil spill disaster. I was searching for a way to express the thoughts and feelings of my friends and family about the disaster. We solicited photos from everyone we knew, asking them to express in their photo a message about the spill. Word got out and soon I found myself in tears, incredibly moved by photos sent in by complete strangers. It was an honor to collaborate with the immensely talented hip-hop artist AshEL Seasunz on this song.