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On Hamilton and inspiration

As I sat in the dark of the Richard Rogers Theater in Manhattan just over a week ago, I was shaken to the core. I sat beside Lisa and watched Hamilton and I could feel the inspiration pulsing through me. But it was more than the fascinating spectacle happening on stage – something far more personal was going on.

It wasn’t just the story of Alexander Hamilton, which in itself is mind-blowingly inspirational. It wasn’t simply the music, in which hip-hop, sophisticated melodies, and intricate motif structures tell the story of some of the US’s founding fathers in a way that is beautiful, impactful; elegantly lean in places, and floridly lush in others.

Even the story of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creation of Hamilton is deeply inspiring, but it wasn’t that aspect that left me nearly breathless upon leaving the theater. OK – actually, all of the above truly DID leave me breathless. But there was one other thing that really got me.

When I started working on the Dominium Project over a year ago, it came to me that it really needs to be a musical theater production – a show.

For those of you who don’t know what the Dominium Project is, think of historical sacred music reimagined darkly with full orchestra, choir, a DJ kicking some thunderous beats, and occasionally a screaming electric guitar or two. If you’re still having trouble, listen to one of the pieces I have in the works (open it in a browser here if you don’t see the music player below). Make sure you listen to the point where the beat drops so you get the idea.

I had shied away from the idea of Dominium being a show. I listened to the fears, the voices in my head that told me I didn’t have the experience. I didn’t have the connections. That it was Just. Too. Big.

But as I watched the actors sing and twirl and spit verse layered with meaning, I felt the Universe whispering to me, yet again, that I need to keep the idea of a musical in mind. And I thought, why NOT me?

I know it’s a crazy big goal. That’s OK – most creative ideas are at least a little crazy. I don’t know everything I need to know, but that’s OK. I do know how to make the music and thread the story together. That’s the next step, anyway. By the time I have that done, maybe the steps after that will be clear.

I have no idea where this may lead. It may lead nowhere. And that’s OK, too. I’ve found that when we put our best out there, good things always come back. And that’s what I intend to do – follow my creative, curious mind to wherever this leads.

I’m so grateful to some dear friends who made that evening in New York possible (you know who you are T&L), and to my wife for sharing that evening with me, and being so supportive of my crazy ideas.

And I’m grateful for you, for coming along with me on the journeys I’ve been on so far. This next one is going to be seriously fun, and I can’t wait to begin.

Christmas CD update:

My forthcoming CD Sanctuary Christmas is coming along beautifully. I have 4 pieces of the final 8–10 all sketched out and ready for final recording. I added a fifth today – a melody I wrote a few years ago that sounds to me like it was born a few centuries ago at Christmas.

I’m making Sanctuary Christmas in order to have a CD of lovely piano arrangements of Christmas songs, hymns, and carols with a little freshness to them. The sort of thing I can never seem to find when I want to hear it during the holidays. My wife loved the idea so much that she’s going to give copies as part of her holiday gifts to her clients.

I have until Halloween to get the audio tracks, artwork, and liner notes done in order to have the physical CDs by the week of Thanksgiving. So basically I have five weeks.

This will be my first actual, physical CD that I’m having produced, so I’m a little nervous and a little excited. I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

If you’re interested in getting one, I’ll share the link for early-bird purchases at the beginning of November.

Free Music Update!

In order to connect with more people I’ve started giving away two free unreleased tracks to new subscribers.

I’m giving away two pieces:

  1. “She While Snow Falls” is a downtempo piece inspired by the utter transport I felt one winter evening in Montana. The snow began to fall as my wife looked heavenward with her blue eyes and spun around with her arms outstretched. The color of the sky was in her eyes, the snow swirled around her, and I had one of those moments that is captured in my heart forever.
  2. “Light of Hope” is a more contemplative piece. Written at a time when I was really in need of a little hope, this piece reached inside me and encouraged me. I hope it does the same for you.

If you’re a subscriber, you’ll get a link to these pieces in your inbox soon! If you’re not, hit the sign-up box below to become one!

Much love – and thanks for being part of my musical family.

Philip

The obligatory stage shot - Lisa and I at Hamilton
The obligatory stage shot – Lisa and I at Hamilton
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