SONG RELEASE STORY
June 16, 2023
What is strength, really? Is it the boxer in the ring, lights blinding, crowd deafening, who remains focused and limber, dancing as if on air, to avoid their opponent's punch, pivot right and land a counter blow? Is it the homeowner who loyally pays the mortgage, vigilantly surveys the neighborhood, and assures the locks are safely fastened at bedtime? Is it the spouse who attends countless doctor's appointments with their ailing partner, and then works until midnight to make up for lost hours? These are the things I think about when I reflect on the creation of Father's Defense / The Emperor.
In truth, strength takes many forms. When I drew The Emperor on December 31, 2021, the card's meaning evoked thoughts of my husband. I pictured him, the boxer, the homeowner, the protector, and I vividly recalled a memory. We were at a music concert. Several hundred people filled a standing room only ballroom. Miah and I arrived early and planted ourselves right up front, center stage - close enough to reach out and touch the lead singer. Halfway through, a fight broke out several feet to our left. I was oblivious until I felt Miah gently push me back and away, towards safety, and then he walked into the altercation to aide in breaking it up. Fortunately, the band also saw what was happening and stopped their performance mid-song. The fight dissipated and the concert resumed.
I remembered that event, as I wrote in my songwriting journal that day, "Don't worry, I got this." I pictured Miah's strength and power, his character and ability to take control of the situation, any situation, and I had my inspiration for the song. I chose "Father's Defense" as the chorus and title, because it balanced nicely with the song title given to The Empress card, which I call "Mother's Creation."
The lyrics and rhythm came through quickly, and then it was time for recording and production. This did not go well. Less than a month after writing the song, I began a journey through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, and Father's Defense languished, while I frantically launched The Music Tarot in a desperate attempt of self-preservation. My producer worked his way through the backlog of previously recorded tracks for other songs in the collection. Soon there would be nothing left for him to work on. I had to finish Father's Defense.
I buckled down and tried a bunch of things. Nothing sounded interesting or ear-grabbing. I met with Brian and played him the song. "I think I have to re-write the melody," I told him. He heard something different. "Record your ideas and send them to me," he told me, "Let me see what I can do with it."
And then one day, the mix was finished. Brian had taken my seemingly disparate melodies and ideas and constructed a beautiful portrayal of strength. Beginning with the gentle waves of simple piano and my voice, fastened with a sturdy rhythm, the thread of notes reveal the passage of power and protection, logic and reason, taking the listener on a sonic wandering through The Emperor's meaning.