When I was 18, during a year I spent in a year in yeshiva in Israel, I wrote my first two complete songs with lyrics. I was so excited that I decided to book a recording studio in which to record them. As you might imagine, it was a challenge for someone with imperfect Hebrew to locate a recording studio in Jerusalem. I did finally find one that had a special, affordable hourly rate after midnight. Perfect! So, I booked a couple hours, and proceeded to practice my songs tirelessly so that I would be prepared. After all, time is money in a recording studio (and, by the way, I still always go into the studio crazy prepared). My set-up that year was a Roland Keyboard and this eight-track that had I bought from a friend the summer before I left.
As the recording day (night) got closer, something started to happen: my eight-track began to crash on me. Repeatedly. And every time it did that, I had to reprogram all of the tracks (drums, piano, horns, etc.) for the song. I was starting to freak out because I didn’t know if the tracks would even be on the machine when I arrived at the studio.
I was a mess emotionally and existentially. I wasn’t sure whether I should abandon the whole project. Were all of the hardships associated with this project meant to make me work harder to realize my goal, or were the hardships a sign that I should abandon it altogether?
I asked one of the rabbis that question and he must have told me to stick to it because that is what I did. I remember having to rebuild the songs the day before the recording and, when I arrived at the studio, they were miraculously still on the eight-track. Here’s the tape of that recording (oh, how I love that I wrote “1st recording” on it!).
I tell this story because I think that this is a crucial skill for being alive: knowing when to fight for something even through it’s very hard versus knowing when to give up on something even though you really want it. Back then, I didn’t know how to handle that dilemma so I sought counsel from a rabbi. Now, I know: it’s a gut thing.
This new song is about that moment when, even if you don’t know what the next thing is and even if you are scared out of your wits, there is something inside of you that says that it’s time to move on. And you do.
I originally wrote this tune as an upbeat song. You can watch a video of that version here. The more I sat with it, though, I decided that I wanted to hear it as a hymn. So, now I’ve got two versions and I must say that I like them both. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll see if I can combine them in some way?
Julie Geller is a Denver-based singer/songwriter who writes and performs original music in English and Hebrew that inspires people to become their best versions of themselves. Hear more at www.juliegeller.com.