This past week I released a remix of “Fly to Paradise,” Eric Whitacre’s new piece for virtual choir which debuted earlier this summer, on my SoundCloud account. Shortly after posting it, it was shared across Eric’s social media profiles by the man himself, congratulating me on a job well done. Because of that, I thought I might share a little bit about it and story behind the unexpected attention it received.
When Virtual Choir 4 was released to the world back in July, there was a bit of confusion on the part of several Whitacre fans who did not anticipate the arrangement to be heavily influenced by electronica, techno, and the like. There seemed to be a calling for a remix that (a) featured a more traditional accompaniment and that (b) featured the choir and soloists more prominently. I began working on a remix to accomplish just that shortly after the assets were released for download. (Personally, I neither love nor hate the original, but I do feel a bit apprehensive sharing a video with my friends starring a PG-13 anime angel… the animation of which was pretty clunky, IMHO.)
I decided on a pretty standard instrumentation for my remix early on—strings, piano, and supporting winds, brass, and percussion in places. It took a few weeks of tinkering on-and-off until I came up with a few bars that felt right. I shared this on SoundCloud as a “preview” of what I was working on—in reality it was all that I had done at the moment. It was enough, though, to spark my imagination for the rest which I finished in just a couple of days.
Fast-forward to Wednesday night. I spent a few hours before bed making some more tweaks to my remix and recording the last few instrumental bits. I remember thinking, “I could keep tweaking this thing for days and days. But I’ve got other projects I need to move on to and this is leaching too much of my free time. It’s not perfect, but let’s just post it and be done with it.” And so, at midnight, I released it to the world, posted about it on Facebook and Twitter and got ready for bed.
As I crawled into bed, a little while later (knowing full well that I would pay for this late-nighter in the morning), I decided to check my phone out of curiosity to see if anyone had played it yet, even though I was sure most of my friends were asleep. I noticed a notification in Twitter… someone had mentioned me just 30 seconds ago. But not just anyone… apparently Eric Whitacre was getting an early start on the day over the pond in London! For a second, I was shocked. Then I remembered that he normally cross-posts on Facebook, as well. Could it be? Sure enough, less than an hour after posting it, my music had been endorsed by the composer himself to over 150,000 fans.
Then the comments, likes, shares, and plays started rolling in. And I didn’t fall asleep for another hour and a half. Yeah, Thursday was rough…
But I had my virtual “15 minutes of fame.” I got some fan mail, received a handful of fan tweets, and read dozens of very positive comments on Facebook and SoundCloud. Apparently, for many Whitacre fans, my remix was what they wished the original had been like. Sorry, Eric, but… mission accomplished.
As of now, my remix is one of the most listened to, commented on, and liked of the 80+ remixes uploaded to the Fly to Paradise Remix group on SoundCloud. If you haven’t already, listen to it below and download it here, if you like it. (Incidentally, I burned through my 100 download limit imposed by SoundCloud in the first 24 hours, so now it’s on Dropbox). Enjoy!