Not a bad tag line to have for a commercial going to air during the Emmys and Country Music Awards in the United States of America. Part of my mind just thinks ‘this is so cosmic’ another part is just processing the ‘congratulations, you deserve it’ texts and emails and part of me are just thinking ‘validation’. How often do we really get it? Validation, I mean.
A partner or one of your kids (if you have them) can ‘validate you at any time by sharing their love or belief in you. A boss can do it in the corporate world too, I guess. But after 35 years (started around 1977) of writing and singing a championing (in my own small way) the belief in and power of the independent music scene something like this takes on a whole new meaning. When a company as big as Yoplait ‘decides to react to a little girls’ request’ then you start to imagine things in a bigger arena. Coincidence becomes something other than coincidence.
I wrote the song because I was mucking about on a piano one morning – after one of my daughter’s sleep-overs – when one of her friends (a little girl in fact) asked: “What are you playing?” I said, “Nothing, just making it up, why do you like it?” She told me yes, and then asked: “Can you make it into a song for me?” So I said “Yeah, sure…” and noticed a memo pad by the piano with the legend ‘Make It Happen’ written boldly across it and used it as a motivational or starting point. The rest just flowed and she said that she liked it, her parents picked her up and that was almost the end of it. It was a catchy tune, not really the type of thing I’d normally write but I thought maybe I’ll just throw it down on the good old 8 track- just in case… so I did.
Not long after I decided to do an album in the ‘old fashioned way’ dedicated to the ’60s and early ’70s with a bunch of friends and fellow musicians in Sydney for something to do. Jim Dickson, Geof Holmes, John Butler and myself were the core of the group or sessions. Later I got Rebecca Hancock and John Gauci to throw on some embellishments. We all shared a similar love and appreciation for that wonderful part of pop music’s blossoming. The sessions themselves were ‘organic’ in themselves and something kind of special grew from them. It was an album called A Once And Future Thing, it was a return to the past, at least stylistically and emotionally.
We did some shows in Sydney and Melbourne and we sold a bunch of CDs and as a writer and arranger/producer I got the best reviews of my career. That, as they say, and $3.50, will get you a cappuccino. However, 60 seconds of the song was inserted into a U.S. TV drama called Over There which was the biggest payment I’d ever received for a piece of music at the time) and that was a significant change in the way I had seen myself up until then. Previously I only just lost out to a song being used (guess) in a campaign for Adidas. I was beaten by The Kinks. Ok, if you are going to come second, second to the Kinks is not such a bad thing. So I kept on playing and kept on singing and writing because that is pretty much all I ever really wanted to do anyway.
Years slid by and a few months ago I decided it was time to dust off the old releases, as the ownership of all my works and releases had long ago reverted back to me. I figured it was time to draw some attention to them and try to make something happen. I was fooling about with the Movie Maker program and decided to make a youtube thing for Make It happen. Why? No reason, I just thought due to the nature of the song it would be the most accessible. It took me a day and I posted it, and it went by seemingly unnoticed but something happened somewhere…
The next day I got a call from my publisher saying there was interest in the song Make It happen for a commercial. I greeted this with my usual healthy slab of cynicism, but was told no, “This time for sure”… So then the long wait, the haggling, the negotiating and all the time I am thinking, hoping and even praying “Please Make It happen” It became my mantra, well almost. Of course, it finally did. I wouldn’t be writing this otherwise. It is strange to think that the requests from 2 little girls, on 2 different sides of the world so many years apart could actually (for me) Make It Happen. My good friends that helped me record it, I thank deeply and warmly from the very heart of my heart. To my publishers at Perfect Pitch (especially Peter) and to Ryan and Pam in the U.S.A.
I offer my profound gratitude. To all my friends and supporters that have come to see me play over the years and believing in the “power of my voice”, I say thank you, so much. Of course, I have to thank Yoplait for choosing to go down this path, I am most humbly appreciative. And to those closest to me, who stood by my side, believing in me and the love and the dreams, we have shared, and especially to my partner Joey thank you, thank you, thank you. You have enriched my life. You have blessed me with your belief. YOU, made it happen, but you also gave me the chance to help and inspire other people to ‘Make It happen; What a fantastic (even if so simple) a thing to be able to promote., positive affirmation. Ok, it’s not Give Peace A Chance, but it is a positive statement in a world that to me seems to be constantly struggling for direction.
Here is the link to the album A Once And Future Thing, that the track was lifted from, again, should you be interested…